The news these days rarely brings a collective sigh of relief, but so it was on July 14, 2020, when the U.S. government rescinded visa restrictions for international students. Looking through the prism of this moment, we find two themes refracted: the incredible solidarity of the international education community, and the importance of supporting the rights and opportunities of individuals involved in international exchange.

The Asian Cultural Council stands with the international students whose ability to study in the United States would have been jeopardized by the F-1/M-1 visa restrictions.

We stand with their American peers and professors whose academic experience would have been impoverished by their absence.

We stand with the university workers whose forced return to campus in the middle of a global pandemic would have put lives at risk.

For more than 57 years, ACC has supported countless artists and scholars of the arts from Asia undertaking graduate study at universities across the U.S. Their participation in these programs has enhanced the learning of scholars and students alike, and has contributed to the diversification and decolonization of scholarly narratives. The F-1/M-1 visa restrictions were discriminatory and diametrically opposed to the values of openness, curiosity, and exploration that characterize the best of our country’s colleges and universities.

This latest measure came on the heels of recent restrictions to the H-1B, L, and J visas and targeted measures against Chinese students, and it followed the expanded Travel Ban 4.0 and ongoing threats to eliminate the Optional Practical Training program. Together these policies constitute an assault on the movement of people and ideas that bring understanding and mutual respect to our shared world.

While celebrating the solidarity and success of the international exchange community, it is imperative to continue to advocate for our international students. Learn more about how you can support the international exchange community at Connecting Our World or NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Sincerely, 

Miho Walsh
Executive Director
Asian Cultural Council