Trump Administration Delays, Moves to Rescind Foreign Entrepreneur Rule

The Trump administration is delaying the effective date of an Obama-era rule that would allow foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. while it solicits public comments on a proposal to rescind the rule altogether.

The international entrepreneur rule was published on Jan. 17 -- three days before Trump was inaugurated -- and was scheduled to go into effect next Monday. The rule outlines criteria by which the secretary of homeland security can use discretionary, case-by-case authority to grant what’s known in immigration parlance as “parole” to allow international entrepreneurs who have “demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation that they would provide a significant public benefit to the United States” to stay in the U.S. for a renewable 30-month term.

In a notice to be published today in the Federal Register, however, the Homeland Security Department said that it has decided to delay the effective date of the rule until next March while it reviews it in light of an executive order on border security and immigration enforcement signed by Trump Jan. 25. That order directs the secretary of homeland security to “take appropriate action to ensure that parole authority” under the Immigration and Nationality Act “is exercised only on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the plain language of the statute, and in all circumstances only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit derived from such parole.”

The notice described it as "highly likely" that the international entrepreneur rule will ultimately be rescinded.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the foreign entrepreneur rule enjoys strong backing in Silicon Valley as the closest thing to a long sought-after (and elusive) “start-up visa” for foreign entrepreneurs. There is currently no straightforward path for international entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. while developing a company.

The National Venture Capital Association issued a statement in which President and CEO Bobby Franklin described the announcement about the rule as “extremely disappointing” and as representing “a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical role immigrant entrepreneurs play in growing the next generation of American companies. At a time when countries around the world are doing all they can to attract and retain talented individuals to come to their shores to build and grow innovative companies, the Trump administration is signaling its intent to do the exact opposite,” Franklin said.

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Reed used personal approach to attract international students in difficult year

Letter from college president highlighted approach that made clear that American higher ed doesn't back Trump policies.

Essay by counselor in China about how wealthy students there game U.S. college admissions

Burgess Mandella offers an inside look at how the favored in China impress American admissions officers.

Britain, Canada, France Seek Foreign Researchers

The British government this week announced a 100-million-pound fund (about $129 million) to attract international researchers to the United Kingdom. The Ernest Rutherford Fund will provide fellowships for early-career and senior researchers, according to the government’s announcement.

The London-based Times Higher Education noted in its coverage of the announcement that many are concerned that fewer foreign researchers will come to the U.K. as a result of potentially stricter immigration controls and perceptions of xenophobia associated with Britain's planned exit from the European Union. "The Rutherford Fund will send a strong signal that, even as we leave the European Union, we are open to the world and will reinforce our ambition of making the U.K. the go-to country for innovation and discovery," Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, said at a launch event.

The U.K. is not the only country with a new pot of money to lure foreign researchers. The government of Canada recently announced an initiative worth 117 million Canadian dollars (about $90.8 million) to attract up to 35 internationally based researchers to Canadian universities for seven-year terms at salaries of either 350,000 Canadian (about $270,000) or one million Canadian (about $772,000) per year. The Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, named to celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial, is open to foreign-based researchers from all disciplines, including Canadian researchers based outside the country.

Meanwhile, France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, is trying to lure climate researchers with grants of up to one million euros (about $1.1 million) for junior researchers and €1.5 million (about $1.7 million) for senior researchers. The French initiative is termed Make Our Planet Great Again, in a clear jab at the slogan favored by President Trump, who recently announced plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

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Hungary’s Higher Ed Law Ensnares U.S. College

A Maryland liberal arts college held negotiations last week with members of Governor Larry Hogan’s cabinet and Hungarian diplomats to hammer out an agreement to keep its campus in Budapest open, The Baltimore Sun reported.

McDaniel College, which has a 23-year-old campus in Budapest, has to reach such an agreement under the terms of a new Hungarian higher education law. The passage of that law, in April, was widely seen as an attack on Central European University, an American-accredited institution in Budapest that was founded by the liberal financier George Soros.

The terms of the law require that foreign universities with campuses in Hungary also have campuses in their home countries -- which McDaniel does but CEU doesn’t -- and that they be governed by an agreement between the Hungarian and U.S. governments. McDaniel President Roger Casey told the newspaper that a final written agreement between Hungary and Maryland is imminent.

"I never imagined that as a small-college president I would be dealing with diplomatic relations," Casey is quoted as saying.

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Ukraine struggles with culture of pervasive cheating in universities


Survey of undergraduates finds that nearly half have paid bribes and almost all admitted to cheating on exams.

Japan's Regional Universities Struggle

Many regional universities in Japan -- especially private institutions -- are struggling to meet enrollment goals, The Japan Times reported. The population of traditional college-age students in the country is declining. And demand keeps increasing to study at universities in Tokyo.

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Chinese Paper Blasts UCSD for Dalai Lama Invitation

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein called for an apology and a retraction after a state-run Chinese publication, the Global Times, published an article condemning the University of California, San Diego, and its chancellor for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak at its recent commencement. Some Chinese students at UCSD protested the decision to invite the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Chinese government regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist who wants to divide Tibet from China, while the Dalai Lama has said he wants autonomy for Tibet, not full independence.

The Global Times article explicitly notes Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s status as an Indian-American and says of the invitation to the Dalai Lama, “Khosla must bear the consequences for this.”

“Don't naively believe that China will acquiesce to the chancellor of UCSD. His support for Tibet independence will affect his personal and the university's exchanges with China. Chinese universities will take cooperative programs with it into prudent reconsideration,” the article says.

“It's suggested that relevant Chinese authorities not issue visas to the chancellor and not recognize diplomas or degree certificates issued by the university in China.”

The Global Times is known for its nationalistic content, and one analyst of Chinese media, David Wertime, recently warned against interpreting its articles as government policy, writing in Foreign Policy that the paper is “not a mouthpiece for Beijing.”

In a statement issued last week, Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said she finds “it unconscionable that a reporter for the Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, would threaten UC San Diego and its chancellor and students for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak.”

“The newspaper should immediately apologize and retract the article that not only threatens to withhold visas from Chancellor Pradeep Khosla but also suggests the university would be punished by withholding students,” Feinstein said.

UCSD issued a statement in response to the article. “The University of California, San Diego, has always served as a forum for discussion and interaction on important public policy issues and respects the rights of individuals to agree or disagree as we consider issues of our complex world,” the university said. “Our 2017 speaker, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, carries a message that promotes global responsibility and service to humanity that is of great interest to the UC San Diego community and to our students as they enter their professional lives.”

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Spring Data Show Increase in Foreign Students

Many U.S. colleges reported drops in applications from international students for this coming fall, but for this past spring, at least, international student numbers continued to grow, increasing 1.7 percent, from 1.16 million in May 2016 to 1.18 million in May 2017, according to new data on F and M student visas from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The overall increase in international students comes despite a 19 percent drop in the number of students from Saudi Arabia, the fourth-leading country of origin for international students in the U.S. after China, India and South Korea. Many colleges have reported declines in numbers of Saudi students that they attribute primarily to changes in the government’s large-scale foreign scholarship program.

Other notable changes include increases in enrollment of students from Vietnam (up 6 percent), South America (up 6.5 percent), India (up 7 percent), and Nepal (up 18 percent). The number of students from South Korea fell by 7 percent.

The student visa data encompass students at all levels, including high school students and students enrolled in vocational programs. About three-quarters of all international students on F and M visas -- 76 percent -- are enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programs.

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Cutting the federal budget for language programs threatens America's security (essay)

When I was a student in Nanjing University in China in the early 1980s, a professor there told me that if I spoke no Chinese at all, I would always be a metaphorical window shopper in his city, admiring the goods on display from a distance on the street. But after investing the time and effort to become proficient at Mandarin and knowledgeable of Chinese custom, I would be invited by the shop owner to come inside and enter the room where his real treasures were kept.

I have had many occasions since then to reflect on the wisdom of my professor’s advice and encouragement. As the deputy commander of the UN security force in Panmunjom in Korea, defense attaché to China, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan and the United States ambassador in Kabul, I have found myself at the intersection of cultures and languages -- often when the stakes were much higher than a mere trip to the local shop. Yet the lesson has withstood the test of time and experience: a working knowledge of another culture, its language and norms, its history and ideals, is often the difference between a failed and a successful mission.

Over the past three years, I have been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning, a group convened in response to a request from a bipartisan group of congressional representatives and senators. Our final report, “America’s Languages,” provides ample evidence to support the notion that proficiency in English, although crucial to our global success, “is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world, nor the needs of individual citizens who interact with other peoples and cultures more than at any other time in human history.”

For all of these reasons, I am particularly concerned that the budget recently released by the White House proposes elimination or drastic cuts to international education and study abroad programs, many of which were already compromised by the previous administration. The president’s budget proposes eliminating the funding for language education in the Department of Education, which had already been cut by 43 percent in the Obama administration. It recommends a 55 percent cut to the exchange programs in the Department of State. While a modest increase of 3 percent is proposed for the Defense Language Institute, the president’s budget also proposes a 20 percent increase in enrollments. These and other proposed cuts threaten our national language readiness -- which, as we saw in the aftermath of the attacks of 2001, is a significant factor in our ability to respond to international challenges.

Although they are saddled with abstract names which make them seem distant from the concerns of people outside the Washington Beltway, Title VI of the 1958 National Defense Education Act and the educational exchange programs in the Department of State are critical to our nation’s ability to teach languages vital to our national security and economic growth. The Language Resource Centers and the National Resource Centers funded through Title VI help support more than 20 vital Department of Defense language programs, foreign area officer training for the U.S. Army and advanced language education for federal employees in dozens of government agencies. Ultimately, if such programs are cut, we will be less able to communicate with and understand our allies and potential adversaries abroad, and would be severely hindered in our negotiations.

Until recently, there has been strong presidential and congressional support for these programs -- from the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy through the George W. Bush White House years, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld helped lead the National Security Language Initiative, an unprecedented effort to ensure adequate levels of funding. These leaders knew that market forces alone will not attract young talent to study critical-need languages, including those of strategically vital and unstable regions like Southwest and Central Asia.

Throughout my career, I have been keenly aware of both the immediate operational and strategic value of language skills and cultural knowledge. These programs, which represent a small and vanishing percentage of the federal budget, need to be funded. We cannot afford to become a nation of window shoppers.

Karl Eikenberry is an Oksenberg-Rohlen Fellow, director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative, at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and a professor of practice at Stanford University. He served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 until July 2011.

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