20 States Seeking to Expel Foreign Students Amid Rising Concerns of 'Terrorist Activity'
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A coalition of 20 attorneys general is pushing a move against student visa holders who support terrorism.
Arkansas AG Tim Griffin is leading the effort after writing a letter that calls on the State Department and Homeland Security to, "Vigorously renew vetting of foreign student visa holders and promptly remove anyone who has endorsed or espoused terrorist activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations."
"These are people that are here because we allow them to be here," said AG Griffin. "If they're going to engage in this sort of support of terrorists, then we need to get them out of here.
Iowa's AG Brenna Bird also signed the letter.
"I would say most of them also don't support terrorism, most people who are here on a student visa are here to study and learn about American culture, but those that are supporting terrorism shouldn't be in our country," AG Bird said. "It's even more concerning when I hear students on campus say that they're scared, they don't feel safe because of what is going on there."
In 2022, the federal government issued more than 400,000 student visas, an increase of 53,000 (or 15%) over the prior year, and the highest recorded total seen in six years. One reason could be the money generated by the student visa program – which pumps about $38 million into the U.S. economy via tuition, living expenses, and other spending.
Almost three-quarters of these F-1 student visa holders find jobs in the important fields of science, tech, engineering and math within three years of graduating. Some call that a huge return of investment as top international talent stays here.
These are the universities with the highest number of student visa holders and the dollars they bring with them: (Sources: IIE, NAFSA & the U.S. Dept of Commerce)
1. University of Southern California (USC) - $664.3 million
2. New York University (NYU) - $575.6 million
3. Northeastern University - $522.2 million
4. Columbia University - $486.3 million
5. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - $461.8 million
"The last thing we want is for Hamas and Hamas sympathizers to be using the U.S. in order to plan future attacks," Bird concluded.
While free speech applies to all students in the U.S. – including foreign visa holders – supporting terrorism does not. That's why the coalition is calling on the federal government to act.
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