TESOL International Association recently issued a joint statement along with EnglishUSA and UCIEP in strong opposition to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidance that will bar many international students from studying in the United States in the fall. The United States has long been a global leader in international education and cultural exchange by providing opportunities for students from the U.S. and around the world to learn about cultures and languages, to exchange ideas, and to build a sense of identity and cultural awareness. Unfortunately, this new guidance, along with previous restrictive travel policies, will further weaken the United States’ ability to offer a space for cross-cultural communication and understanding.
Institutions of higher education and Intensive English Programs not only enable international students to develop their English language proficiency, but they also provide numerous social and cultural benefits such as enabling students to collaborate with their peers from around the world, thereby fostering the respect for diversity and multiculturalism that are fundamental to an interconnected world. While studying English, international students not only learn about U.S. culture through their interactions with peers and community members, but also enrich the communities in which they stay by sharing their unique perspectives with local residents and students. This reciprocal exchange of ideas is essential to promoting a sense of global community and mutual respect.
TESOL, along with its colleagues at EnglishUSA and UCIEP, are urging the White House and ICE to rescind this guidance that will certainly result in even more harm to the well-being of institutions of higher education, IEPs, international students, and local communities.