Immigration Sting Could Hurt U.S. Reputation

NEWS THAT THE Department of Homeland Security set up a fake university to nab the organizers of a scheme that allowed hundreds of immigrants to remain in or come to the United States illegally could have a chilling effect on international student enrollment in colleges and universities across the country.

“I definitely think this is going to cause further decrease in international students choosing the U.S. as where they want to continue their education,” Emily Neumann, partner at the law firm Reddy & Neumann, which specializes in immigration law, says. “They are going to look to other countries that are more welcoming. Ones that don’t set up sting operations with fake universities and say, ‘Gotcha.'”

The news, first reported Wednesday by the Detroit Free Press, comes at a time when the number of newly enrolled international students in U.S. institutions of higher education is already on a downward spiral. The number of international students enrolling for the first time at an American universities fell by 6.6 percent during the 2017-18 academic year, according to the Open Doors survey – the second straight year in which new enrollments fell by more than 6 percent.

“This is the prime time when students are applying to universities around the world, so any kind of negative approach is definitely not good for students and the universities,” says Rahul Choudaha, executive vice president of global engagement and research at StudyPortals, a company that offers an online international student recruitment platform.

“From that perspective, this could have a very detrimental effect,” he says.

The event also underscores the important role accurate and transparent information about U.S. institutions of higher education plays in allowing international students to make the best choice of where to enroll.

By Lauren Camera, for U.S NEWS

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