WENR, February 2017: The Americas

U.S.: Students Return as Travel Ban Temporarily Halted

On February 3rd, a Federal District Court judge temporarily blocked the president’s executive order barring entry to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. Many students who were stuck in limbo abroad have rushed to board U.S.-bound flights, several being met by their host university officials. The City University of New York in particular has been advocating on behalf of those affected by the ban through their Citizenship Now project, which offers free legal services to immigrants. While the halt of the executive order has brought relief to students and administrators alike, there is the acute awareness that this window to return could close soon as the current administration has appealed the judge’s ruling. Note: At publish a federal appeals court is considering a court-ordered injunction on the travel ban. A ruling is expected within a few days.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 5, 2017

Global: Call to Boycott U.S. Academic Conferences in Light of Travel Ban

President Trump’s executive order banning citizens from majority-Muslim countries has sparked outrage among university leaders and associations around the world. Over 6,000 academics on every continent have signed a petition vowing to boycott conferences held in the U.S. while the ban is still in effect as a show of solidarity with the millions of people affected. Beyond showing support, the petition also questions the legitimacy of a conference at which the natural flow of ideas is inherently stemmed by the absence of a large subsection of Muslim academics. Meanwhile, over 20,000 academics in the U.S. have signed a petition condemning the ban. The ban has been temporarily halted by a federal judge, however Trump has vowed to have this ruling overturned.

University World News
February 5, 2017

Canada: Higher Ed Sector Benefits from Brexit, Trump

Canadian universities have seen a surge in interest from American and British students and professors as their respective countries veer towards strongly nationalistic. According to Universities Canada, a consortium of university presidents, academic job inquiries from the U.K. has skyrocketed since the Brexit vote last summer and interest from American professors has doubled since the presidential election last November. In a parallel trend, many Canadian universities have seen a huge jump in applications from American students, with the following increases reported: University of Toronto – 80 percent, McMaster University – 34 percent, McGill University – 21 percent and the University of British Columbia – 18 percent. Universities Canada predicts that other international students will follow suit given the less welcoming climate in the U.S. coupled with Canada’s recent reforms to ease pathways to permanent residency.

February 1, 2017
Global News

U.S.: Immigration Order Causes Chaos and Uncertainty

President Trump’s abruptly imposed executive order barring entry of citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries caused chaos over the weekend of January 28th—confusion, fear and uncertainty persist. The ban, which singled out citizens Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya (and refugees) has serious implications for nearly 17,000 students at U.S. institutions. Stories abound of students stranded abroad, while those in-country face the prospect of prohibited reentry if they leave to attend conferences or visit sick family members. The selective ban has set off protests around the country and prompted thousands of academics from American universities to sign a letter labeling the order harsh and discriminatory and warning that the reputation of higher education in the U.S. is in peril. To that end, some U.S. institutions are proactively strategizing ways to preserve this legacy of openness and inclusion that has made the country a top destination for internationals students. It remains to be seen if that reputation will persist.

Al-Fanar Media
January 30, 2017

U.S.: Indictment of Key Player in Worldwide Global Diploma Mill Operation

A former executive for Pakistani-based Axact, a company responsible for a global diploma mill operation that made over $140 million, has been indicted in the U.S. for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Umair Hamid, former assistant vice president of international relations, continued to sell fraudulent diplomas even after his company was embroiled by controversy and investigation. Note: Diploma Mills operate all over the world. WES offers advice on how to determine the authenticity of academic credentials.

January 3, 2017
Inside Higher Ed

Canada: International Students Boost Economy

International students contributed nearly USD$ 9 billion to the Canadian economy, comprising 11 percent of service exports, according to a study commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The study juxtaposes this figure with export values of other industries in the same range, including wheat and lumber, to highlight the considerable financial impact of the international education sector. Given the growing influence of international education, the report cites the need for a drill down on trends (tuition rates, comparing students at private versus public schools, spending habits, etc.) and a “single, comprehensive source of data with regards to international students”.

The PIE News
December 21, 2016

Posted in Americas, Regional News Summaries

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