Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Tuesday that he joined a coalition of 22 state attorney generals in opposing a proposed Department of Homeland Security rule that would set time limits on student visas.
The proposed rule would set limits of two or four years for student visas, despite longstanding policy that allowed students who meet certain requirements to stay as long as necessary to earn degrees.
Kaul and other attorneys general are urging DHS to abandon the rule.
“International students contribute so much to our state and communities at Wisconsin’s world-renowned universities. This latest attack on international students from the Trump administration would impose burdensome and arbitrary restrictions on those students, add further strain to university budgets and negatively impact our economy,” Kaul said in his statement.
Kaul argued that the proposed visa rule would cause a decline in international student enrollment, hurt available opportunities for American students and create a backlog of visa application extension requests in a volume that the department could not handle.
The U.S. has used the “Duration of Status” framework for students on F visas since 1979, which allows students to stay in the country long enough to earn degrees. It also provides savings to taxpayers because it prevents the federal government from processing visa extension applications.
The new rule would end the policy, causing many students to be limited to two-year initial visa terms and requiring them to apply for an extension.
Currently, over two million international students are permitted to stay in the United States if they are enrolled in an accredited program working towards a degree under the “Duration of Status” framework for students with F visas.
UW-Madison also urged DHS to withdraw the rule earlier this month. The university said the time limits would create additional burdens for Ph.D. students, whose degrees can take up to six or more years to finish.
“We are in a global competition for talent. This rule would make U.S. and universities like UW–Madison a less attractive destination for the best and the brightest, who we need to maintain technological leadership and develop scientific innovations. This rule also may unequally impact students from smaller countries and endanger the rich diversity and exchanges they bring to institutions in Wisconsin and across the U.S.,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in an Oct. 8 statement.
State news editor