Are universities damaged by Trump's immigration policy?
A new survey revealed that 45 percent of educational institutions in the country have registered a drop in enrollment of international students for the period that is just beginning.
To build walls; to make a witch hunt with immigrants; to shout to foreigners that they are carriers of all the threats facing the country; to show contempt for international relations; to have a xenophobic slogan as a government motto and continue as if nothing has happened ... necessarily creates a climate of generalized fear.
Perhaps the academic community begins to join that list of sectors that suffer the collateral effects of the tightening of immigration policy and the discriminatory discourse of President Donald Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE) together with the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the State Department - and registered in principle by The New York Times -, "The number of new enrollments of international students has decreased by an average of 7 percent this fall."
Some 45 percent of the 500 educational institutions surveyed between September and October recorded that decrease in new enrollments of students from other countries for the school year that is just beginning.
According to Rajika Bhandari, of the IIE, who presented the results of the survey in the framework of the Open Doors Data 2017 panel, held at the National Press Club in New York, the institutions interviewed attributed the drop in new enrollments to several factors.
Among the reasons given are the political and uncertain environment that has become rarefied thanks to the hardening of visa issuance processes, on the one hand, and the growing competition in the academic area of other countries and institutions, on the other.
However, according to the Open Doors 2017 Data study, which the mentioned survey is part of, the 2016 and 2017 period marked a record in international students present in classrooms of the country with 1,078,822 foreign students enrolled in American universities and colleges (an increase of 3.4 percent over the previous period).
According to the study, this increase is mainly due to students who were already studying at higher education institutions and who decided to stay in the country to continue their professional training.
China, South Korea, India and Saudi Arabia are the countries of origin of the majority of students currently advancing higher education in the United States.
Although it cannot be concluded that the fall of new international students for the period 2017-2016 is due exclusively to the migratory policy of the White House, it is an aggravating factor for a sector that generates 39.4 billion dollars to the national economy.