Dear University of Maryland community,
On May 29, 2020, the White House issued an executive order on "Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People's Republic of China." It denied entry to the U.S. for graduate study or research to Chinese nationals who have studied or conducted research at certain universities in China. Many of our international students on campus are also concerned that the White House may limit the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and the H1-B visa program, which would negatively impact their studies and research.
Yesterday, the White House issued a "Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak." Tomorrow, it goes into effect. It would limit the issuance of H-1B visas, H-2B visas, H-4 visas, L-1 visas, and certain J-1 visas for the remainder of the calendar year. However, it does not limit the OPT program.
I am deeply concerned about the effect of these actions on current and future international students, post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and faculty. The University of Maryland is working with national academic associations and the Maryland congressional delegation to ensure that entry to the U.S. for study and research is denied only when there are individual cases with legitimate and specific security concerns.
The United States is a global leader in higher education because we have welcomed talented persons of all nations to study, teach, and do research here. International students, scholars, and faculty have made major contributions to our campus and to our nation's vitality and economic competitiveness. The curtailment of the H1-B and H-4 visa programs limits America's access to academic talent from around the world. It is also unclear how this Proclamation will protect our country from the effects of COVID-19, which is its ostensible purpose.
The University of Maryland is committed to excellence in education, research, innovation, and public engagement. We welcome students and scholars from across the nation and the world. Diversity, inclusivity, equity, solidarity, and intellectual freedom are core values of our community. We will continue to welcome and support the success of all students and scholars on our campus.
Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland