On April 22, 2020, the president of the United States announced a new immigration policy because of the effect of COVID-19 on U.S. citizens. According to the official announcement, “In the days between the national emergency declaration and April 11, 2020, more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment.” To no one’s surprise, Trump’s solution to this pandemic, and its subsequent effects, is to put a temporary ban on immigration. There are some pretty obvious things wrong with this move; the most prevalent to NC State is its impact on international students.
As a combined result of COVID-19, Trump’s new immigration policy and America’s disappointing way of trying to flatten the curve, a projected decline of 25% of international students is expected for the coming school year. According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, this decline in international student enrollment could potentially lead to a loss of approximately $10 billion and 114,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.
According to NAFSA executive director and CEO, Esther D. Brimmer, international students and scholars are vital to the US economy.
“International students create jobs, drive innovation, enrich our campuses and communities, strengthen national security, and become America’s greatest foreign policy assets,” Brimmer said in an interview with The PIE News.
While students who are currently on F-1 visas shouldn’t be too affected by this policy change, it will definitely be a major concern to the students who were planning to come to the U.S. this summer or fall. International students make up a significant portion of college campus populations across the U.S., especially when it comes to graduate school and other levels of higher education. NC State itself has a very large international student population, with more than 4,800 international students from over 120 different countries currently enrolled, and it will be interesting to see how this policy and COVID-19 might affect those numbers this coming school year.
Another reason why this decision could potentially hurt the U.S. instead of help is because it is absolutely essential for this country to have highly qualified workers in fields related to STEM, healthcare, and education to help the country bounce back from this economic crisis. According to a study conducted during a three year period between 2011 and 2013, immigrants constituted 15.7% of the healthcare force, and that number has likely only grown since then.
Furthermore, immigrants contribute greatly to the U.S. economy, working at high rates and making up a third of the workforce in some industries. As a STEM student and child of an immigrant myself, I would like to point out that the American Immigration Council (AIC) said, “STEM occupations are critical to the country’s innovation, and STEM workers are responsible for many of the cutting-edge ideas and technologies that create jobs and raise the living standards of U.S. households.” And quite frankly, immigrants and first generation Americans make up a major component of this industry. In fact, according to the AIC, “Twenty-five percent of high-tech companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder, and over 40 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 in 2010 were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.”
Lastly, a lot of Americans were in a job crisis long before COVID-19 hit. Yes, the pandemic is definitely affecting jobs, but that isn’t just a problem the U.S. is facing. This is a global pandemic, and countries all over the world are suffering. Yet, those countries are managing to do a better job than the U.S. at handling this disease, as well as their economies.
Donald J. Trump just found another excuse to shake up the immigrants in his country, so he took it. Frankly, banning immigrants for two months isn’t going to solve the pandemic, and it isn’t going to save this country’s economy either. The only thing it’s going to do is add to the stress levels of thousands of immigrants who were planning to come to this country, but are unable to, thanks to our president’s silly wishes.
If you want to save your country, Mr. Trump, maybe consider taking better care of your citizens. Don’t take it out on immigrants.