international

Premium H-1B Visa Processing Temporarily Suspended

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is temporarily suspending premium processing of H-1B skilled worker visa applications for up to six months, beginning on April 3. USCIS said the suspension is intended to “reduce overall H-1B processing times” by allowing the government to “process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years.”

A CNN article noted that premium processing costs an additional $1,225 and provides a guarantee that an application will be reviewed within 15 days or the premium fee will be refunded, whereas normal processing takes three to six months. Universities hire many foreign-born employees on H-1B visas, and the H-1B provides a route by which some international alumni of American universities get the right to work long term in the U.S. Many in higher education have been watching to see whether President Trump -- who has been critical of what he's described as “abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker” -- will push for changes to the H-1B visa program.

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Visiting scholar detained and nearly deported

Texas A&M intervened when French Holocaust scholar headed to a conference was blocked from leaving the airport.

International educators grapple with changed political and social landscape

Administrators who promote global agendas for colleges consider the newly politicized nature of their work.

Trump Plans New Executive Order on Immigration

President Trump said Thursday he will issue a new executive order on immigration after federal courts blocked his administration from enforcing a Jan. 27 order barring entry into the U.S. by refugees and nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries.

In a news conference, Trump said the new order would come out next week. The order, Trump said, would "be very much tailored to the, what I consider to be a very bad [court] decision, but we can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything, in some ways more."

The Trump administration also said in a court filing it would be rescinding and replacing its original executive order.

In its brief in response to a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota, the federal government expressed disagreement with the earlier ruling against it by a three-judge panel but said it does not seek an en banc ruling by a larger group of judges. “Rather than continuing this litigation, the president intends in the near future to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns,” the brief states. “In so doing, the president will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation.”

Bob Ferguson, the attorney general for the state of Washington, tweeted in response to the government’s brief, “Today’s court filing by the federal government recognizes the obvious -- the president’s current exec order violates the Constitution.”

“President Trump could have sought review of this flawed order in the Supreme Court but declined to face yet another defeat,” Ferguson said in another tweet.

Many college leaders have spoken out against the entry ban, which prevented travel by students and scholars from the affected countries to their campuses and meant that affected individuals already in the U.S. could not return if they were to travel internationally for professional or personal purposes. Trump has justified the executive order as intended to prevent the entry of terrorists into the U.S.

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French minister seeks to mend 'broken links' between academics and political leaders

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French minister seeks to rebuild ties between academics and politicians -- and sees new law on release of data as part of the solution.

British MOOC provider FutureLearn expands to the U.S.

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FutureLearn, the massive open online course provider owned by the Open University in the U.K., expands to the U.S.

Trump Says New Order on Immigration Possible

President Trump on Friday said he might sign a “brand-new order” on immigration as enforcement of his Jan. 27 executive order barring entry into the U.S. for nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries remains halted by the courts.

The New York Times reported that the president promised to continue the court battle over the original order but “indicated that he would not wait for the process to play out to take action.” Appearing on Sunday morning news shows, Stephen Miller, a White House senior policy adviser, said the Trump administration is considering various legal options, including the possibility of a new order, according to The Washington Post.

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday to keep in place a temporary restraining order preventing the Trump administration from enforcing the entry ban. Many college and university leaders condemned the ban, which prevented the travel of students and scholars from the seven countries to their campuses and barred those who were already in the U.S. from traveling internationally for professional or personal purposes.

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Police Detain 12 at Ankara University Protest

Turkish police detained at least 12 people and used tear gas to disperse protesters demonstrating against the dismissal of academics at Ankara University on Friday, Reuters reported. Dozens of academics at the university were among the more than 4,400 civil servants fired last week in the most recent round of purges following a failed coup attempt in July. More than 125,000 people have been fired or suspended from their positions and 40,000 people arrested since the coup attempt, which the government blames on the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and his followers. Gülen has denied involvement.

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College Owner Pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud

The owner of a chain of four Los Angeles-area colleges accused of running a “pay-to-stay” scheme through which foreign nationals fraudulently obtained immigration documents allowing them to stay in the U.S. on student visas though they were not bona fide students pleaded guilty Thursday to federal immigration fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced in a press release.

Hee Sun Shim, 53, of Beverly Hills, owned and managed three colleges in Los Angeles’s Koreatown -- Prodee University/Neo-America Language School; Walter Jay M.D. Institute, an Educational Center; and the American College of Forensic Studies -- and a fourth institution, Likie Fashion and Technology College, in Alhambra, Calif. Prosecutors say that the four schools collected tuition from and issued immigration documents to individuals who were not genuine students and had no intention of attending classes -- and who, in some cases, lived outside California. Prosecutors also say that Shim created fake student records, including transcripts, to deceive federal immigration authorities.

As part of his plea agreement, Shim agreed to forfeit $465,000 seized by investigators in 2015. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Shim’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 5. Two other defendants in the case have also pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.

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International graduate student applications grow, but at slower pace

Report from the Council of Graduate Schools shows international graduate student applications and enrollments continue to grow, but the rate is slower than in recent years.

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