Academic Visa Reform sign now

View the co-sponsors and more details about this petition here

Since September 11, 2001, tightening visa restrictions, lengthy security checks, special registrations, and other national policy changes have created an increasingly inhospitable climate for international students, post-doctoral scholars, and other academics studying and working in the United States. Such students and scholars often find it difficult to:

attend academic conferences necessary for advancing their research and professional development
visit family at home and have family members visit here, leading to long periods of separation from parents, spouses, and children
continue their studies and research without lengthy interruptions, or the threat of lengthy interruptions, due to delays in the security-check process
advocate, either individually or collectively, for their own interests - such as fair wages, benefits, and access to teaching and research positions - in a way that might create disagreement or conflict with university authorities
feel welcome as full and equal members of the academic community in the United States.

While recognizing the paramount importance of homeland security concerns, we, the undersigned, believe that international students, post-doctoral scholars, and other academics should be better recognized and rewarded for their vital contribution to the intellectual and economic life of the United States; that the research and teaching interests of U.S. universities would be best served by eliminating the unnecessary delays and fears caused by many current visa policies and procedures; and that a fair and welcoming environment for the increasing number of international students, post-doctoral scholars, and other academics in the United States is vital to the protection of academic freedom for all teachers and researchers at U.S. universities and of this nation's status as the center of academic research and teaching internationally.

With that in mind, we call upon the addressees of this petition to:

create a more efficient and streamlined security-check process,
investigate the feasibility and desirability of offering longer-term re-entry visas and multiple-entry visas for scholars from China and other areas who do not currently enjoy such privileges,
create additional provisions that would allow international students, post-doctoral scholars, and other academics to change their visa status or renew their visas without leaving the country,
create a fair appeals process for people who have been denied visas, and
hold congressional hearings to inform possible legislative changes.

In the meantime, we call upon University Presidents to:

collectively lobby the U.S. government for the changes described above,
make clear public statements and engage in other efforts to educate the general public on the value that international students, post-doctoral scholars, and other academics bring to the intellectual and economic life of the United States,
protect international students' right to exercise their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association and make clear public statements about these rights,
waive the SEVIS fee or any other cost to international students for their own surveillance, and
create ways to share the financial and other burdens caused to international students, post-doctoral scholars, other academics, and their laboratories by extended security checks and travel difficulties generally.
increase support for ESL training, housing subsidies, dependent health-care and other programs meant to create a secure and supportive environment for international graduate students and scholars working in the United States.

View the co-sponsors and more details about this petition here

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Alyssa NguyenBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, U.S. Congress, and University Presidents

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