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I received an email from an F-1 international student whom I had been mentoring, and my heart sank as soon as I read the subject line: “Didn’t get selected for H-1B.” I could feel their disappointment and frustration. They had been hoping to stay in the US and work at their dream job, but now that opportunity seemed to have slipped away.
I reminded them that they still had their STEM OPT and could try again next year. I also suggested that they speak with an immigration attorney to learn more about other visa options.
I hope to share this story and encourage others to advocate for international students and propose changes to the H-1B system. We need to create a fair system that recognizes the valuable contributions that international students make to our society and the American economy.
It’s time to recognize their contributions and create a system that values them for the incredible assets they are.
There are several ways to advocate for international students with immigration policy such as writing petitions to raise awareness about issues that impact international students and encourage policy changes that support them. Please check out the list of organizations that regularly provide channels for you to write such petitions.
- NAFSA (Association of International Educators): https://www.nafsa.org/
- American Immigration Council: https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/
- National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/
- Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project: https://ilapmaine.org/
- National Immigrant Justice Center: https://immigrantjustice.org/
- United We Dream: https://unitedwedream.org/
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice: https://www.advancingjustice-aajc.org/
- National Council of La Raza: https://www.unidosus.org/
- Center for American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/
- Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): https://www.aclu.org/
- National Immigration Forum: https://immigrationforum.org/
- The Dream US: https://thedream.us/
- Immigrants’ Rights Project: https://www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights/immigrants-rights-project
- Migration Policy Institute: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/
- National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: https://www.nnirr.org/
The current H-1B visa system does not fully leverage the potential of international students, and we need to change that.
International students bring a wealth of knowledge, diverse perspectives, and critical skills that are essential to American businesses, especially in a post-pandemic world where innovation and adaptability are crucial. It’s time to recognize their contributions and create a system that values them for the incredible assets they are.
Think Big & Live Your Dream!
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