For­eign stu­dents valu­able to keep

The Maui News - - Opinion -

Pres­i­dent Trump may rant and rail about trade deficits in a global econ­omy that he says rips Amer­ica off, but one mar­ket the U.S. has cornered for decades, to the broader ben­e­fit of us all, is higher ed­u­ca­tion. The world’s stu­dents — Asia’s es­pe­cially — flock to our un­der­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate schools in num­bers un­ri­valed by any other na­tion, of­ten pay­ing top-dol­lar tu­ition to study here.

It may not stay that way for long, and Trump’s Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforcemen­t agency will be to blame.

A healthy coun­try would do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to keep a mil­lion-plus for­eign stu­dents com­ing, and not only be­cause they con­trib­ute $45 bil­lion an­nu­ally to our econ­omy. Nearly one-quar­ter of U.S. bil­lion-dol­lar startup com­pa­nies had a founder who first came here as an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent, ac­cord­ing to a 2018 study.

But be­cause of the COVID-19 pan­demic — which, in no small part due to fail­ures by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, will likely still be rag­ing in late 2020 and pos­si­bly 2021 — many of Amer­ica’s col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing Har­vard, Rut­gers, Prince­ton, Ge­orge­town, are be­ing forced to move most classes on­line.

To which ICE now tells stu­dents who came thou­sands of miles to study here: Tough luck. If their ed­u­ca­tions go from in­per­son to all-vir­tual in the fall, for­eign stu­dents will have to leave.

Trump, who has in­sanely said “al­most ev­ery stu­dent that comes over to this coun­try (from China) is a spy,” may pre­tend he’s stand­ing up for Amer­ica. He’s ac­tu­ally punch­ing all of us in the face.

This guest ed­i­to­rial is from the New York Daily News.

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