Closing half foreign students from recruiting pipeline will harm US companies and economy, say tech biggies.
After top American universities, it’s now the turn of tech biggies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft to join the legal battle against Trump administration’s new rule barring foreign students taking online-only classes.
“Closing off more than half of all international students from participating in the recruiting pipeline for American businesses will thus harm companies and the entire economy,” they say in a legal brief.
It will also “disrupt reliance expectations based on prior policies permitting international students to remain in the United States.”
Apart from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, top tech companies joining the suit include Salesforce, Adobe, LinkedIn, PayPal, Twitter, Dropbox and Github.
Like the educational institutions, tech majors are arguing that the Trump administration “did not take account of the substantial benefits to US businesses from international students’ employment in the United States during and after their course of study.”
Nor did it consider American “businesses’ reliance on international students to provide a critical element of their workforce.”
They also spoke of “long-term benefits to businesses and the entire economy from international students who remain in the United States, and from those who find permanent employment outside the United States.”
Besides foreign tech professionals coming to the US on H-1B visas, American tech companies greatly rely on the large pool of international students who come to the US to pursue higher studies.
For instance, both search engine giant Google and tech major Microsoft are led by India-born CEOs, Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella, who came to the US as students.
Faced with the dilemma of complying with the new Trump administration directive amid a raging coronavirus pandemic or lose lucrative foreign students, a few institutions have adopted a hybrid model of online and in-person classes.
While Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Johns Hopkins University have filed lawsuits against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “arbitrary and capricious” order.
Several other universities, including California system. Cornell, Princeton, Stanford University and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are backing the legal challenge.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian students in the US with F-1 visas for full-time study at an academic institution and M-1 visas for vocational or other nonacademic training will be affected by the new ICE rule.
More than a million foreign students are currently studying in the US with a recent Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) report putting the number of Indian students enrolled in US academic institutions at 194,000 in January this year.
According to a Commerce Department international students contributed $44.7 billion to the US economy in 2018. They also supported around 460,000 jobs in the US in the 2018-19 academic year, international education advocacy group NAFSA estimated.
Indian American Senator Kamala Harris and House member Pramila Jayapal also joined 100 fellow Democratic lawmakers in demanding a reversal of the rule which they have condemned as ‘irrational, xenophobic and a health risk’ to the community.
Many other bodies have backed the demand. These include Advancing Justice, South Asian Americans Leading Together, Central American Resource Center, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Joe Biden vows to lift Trump’s H-1B ban if elected (July 1, 2020)
US says foreign students still welcome despite new rule (July 8, 2020)