Advocating for International Education
UC Berkeley has a rich tradition of international engagement with institutions and researchers from all over the world who are committed to the advancement of research, scholarship, and service. We are of the firm belief that the international student and scholar community are vital to the intellectual life of the university and to our teaching and research mission. We remain committed to protecting these interests. This is a time when we are experiencing unprecedented events both within the U.S. and globally. It is therefore incumbent upon us to advocate for sound legislation and policies that are more welcoming and reflect our values.
The University of California system and UC Berkeley continue to monitor and advocate for sound legislation around immigration matters. Following is an update of what efforts are being made to address specific issues. When situations arise where you can assist, we will provide links for you to follow to join our advocacy efforts. For updates regarding the most recent U.S. immigration policy, Executive Orders, and travel advisories, please see BIO's Immigration Policy Updates & FAQ webpage.
Legislation and Policy Resources
COVID-19 related resources from NAFSA: Association of International Educators:
ICE Guidance for Fall 2020
On July 6th, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance to universities indicating that it would issue a regulation in the coming weeks that could potentially force many international students to return to their home countries if they are taking entirely online classes for the Fall 2020 semester. BIO is closely following the situation and will post developments and opportunities for advocacy to this page.
- 7/10/2020 - Letter from the Offices of Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris
- 7/09/2020 - Letter from the Office of U.S. Representative Dingell
- 7/09/2020 - Letter from the Office of Congressman Panetta
- 7/09/2020 - Letter from the Office of Senator Warren
- 7/08/2020 - Letter from the Office of Senator Collins
- 7/08/2020 - The University of California announced plans to file a federal lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to bar ICE from enforcing the order
7/08/2020 - Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a federal lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement of the order
7/07/2020 - Message from Chancellor Christ
Fall 2020 ICE Guidance:
- Urge Congress to Support International Students & Scholars and Protect OPT
- OPT Talking Points (Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities)
- Share your experience as an international student with NAFSA's Connecting our World. NAFSA uses your stories to better advocate for international students and scholars.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) and H-1B Advocacy
The administration continues to target Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows international students to work for 12 months, usually after graduation, and 24 additional months in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. A summary of a rule proposal on the agenda states: “ICE [Immigration and Custom Enforcement] will amend existing regulations and revise the practical training options available to nonimmigrant students on F and M visas.” Below are some recent advocacy efforts:
- 6/12/2020 - Letter from California Chamber of Commerce
- 6/02/2020 - Letter from Republican Members of Congress Supporting OPT Program
- 6/01/2020 - National Graduate Student Organization Calls on the White House to Support OPT & H-1B to Strengthen Academia and the Economy
- 5/26/2020 - Letter from U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- 5/19/2020 - Joint UCSA-UCGPC Letter in Support of Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program
- 5/18/2020 - Letter from 10 University of California Chancellors to Departments of Homeland Security and State