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TRUMP WON: What Does It Mean For ME As An International Student? [UPDATED 12/07/2016]

So you, just like all of the other 1.36 Million International Students studying in the US are probably wondering what a Trump presidency means for you. We’re going to post our most recent findings and Trump policy proposals related to International Students as they are announced…so bookmark this link, because it’s going to get interesting. 

The truth is, no one knows yet.

This is a candidate who doubled down on unconventional tactics to get his voters out. He regularly changes his positions or outright lies. So, anything said prior to this moment, this very second, is subject to change. Within three days of the victory, Trump went from wanting to build a wall to opting for a moderate double layered fence, he also completely reversed his stance on Korea and more. Stay tuned for more updates.

Our educated guess is nothing will happen to you

Money talks, and NAFSA estimated international students contributed $32.8 Billion (that’s with a B), to the US economy in the 2015/2016 academic school year. Those contributions supported more than 400,000 jobs. 

Additionally, If you are to believe the statements from Trump’s Sept. 1st Immigration speech in Mexico City, you’re good. A direct quote from his speech:

“We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with dignity. We will be fair, just and compassionate to all. But our greatest compassion must be for American citizens.”

However in this speech he implied that undocumented immigrants receive federal compensation when in actually they do not. The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, commonly known as welfare reform, effectively barred undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal benefits. This speech contains a lot of hate, but it also stresses treating EVERYONE who resides in the USA with dignity. Whether or not he will uphold that promise stands to be seen.

[editor’s note: this is in regards to your visa status. More about your safety and well being below]

American Universities definitely want you to stay

American universities are practively reaching out to international students to assure them things will be okay.  Institutions such as the University of South Florida have sent letters to students highlighting their inclusiveness.

“In contrast to a divisive Presidential election that temporarily hurt the fabric and values of the United States, here at USF we are committed to a climate of civility, unity and respect for all. There are already signs just a few weeks after the election of the whole country returning to a gracious and exciting vision for the future.”

A letter on the University of Denver’s website also states the following:

“The legal system is solid and transparent and we do not expect that to change anytime soon. Much discussion of what possible immigration changes might occur remain speculative and while we cannot be certain about changes or about specific policy and enforcement, we want you to know that we are your advocates. Any new changes in policy, law and regulations affecting immigration would have to meet U.S. constitutional standards and will likely be met by legal challenges.”

H1-B peeps, you should be good too

At one point, Donald went so far as to support the “foreigners who attend our great colleges.”

According to Inside Higher Ed, many of Trump’s proposals focus on border security and enforcement issues, but his brief position paper on immigration also calls for raising the prevailing wage paid to foreigners on H-1B skilled worker visas and putting in place a requirement that employers hire American workers first. H-1Bs represent one of the few routes through which former international students can gain permanent residency.

But make sure you’re not “abusing” your visa…Whatever that means.

In a post to Youtube on 11/22/2017, The president elect said in regards to immigration “On immigration, I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”


Unfortunately, you might see less of us around US campuses nationwide.

According to a survey of 1.2 million students by FPP EDU Media, and International Education Advantage LLC, 60 percent said they were less inclined to study in the U.S. if Trump is the next president.

And If you’re not already here, you might be out of luck. 

As the election has progressed, Trump’s initial plans to support skilled immigrant migration to the US has narrowed. Trump plans to scrap the J-1 visa program issued to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors who participate in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially medical or business, within the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of State. This will effectively cut over 300,000 people’s access to live in the US.

Remember to stay safe.

The fact is, International students are scared. It still holds true that in regards to your visa to stay in the US, nothing will change but unfortunately I would be ignoring the obvious if that’s all I mentioned. Sadly, Trump’s victory seems to have emboldened a few to act in idiotic ways that will make you feel anywhere from annoyed to downright scared for humanity.

In his first televised interview as president-elect, Trump addressed reports that his supporters are harassing Latinos Muslims asking them to stop.

“I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps,” Trump said, turning from Stahl to another camera positioned inside his Trump Tower apartment. “I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

So remember, if you look past the hatred you will see an outpouring of empathy and support from the communities around you. Hillary won the popular vote so while Trump may be President, most of the people in our fair country do NOT condone his supporters treatment of immigrants, minorities and neighbors. We are here for you but most importantly, you are there for each other. Hold onto hope, for it is far more powerful than fear.

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Updated 12/07/2016 by Hwan Hill

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Hwan Hill

Hwan comes from US and non-US heritage and loves that his name and appearance confuses people. After years of post secondary life outside of the US, he returned to do his part in moving the HR and recruitment professions forward. When he's not advocating for servant leadership, he can be found asking for maximum level spice on pretty much everything and laughing hysterically at memes.


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