9/17/20 International Students and Scholars Office

The International Students and Scholars Office works with students from other countries who hope to attend Purdue.

A Purdue student was reportedly “sent back to India” after officials contacted the Purdue University Police Department, according to police logs from Feb. 17. The University has not divulged any details of the incident.

“It was an invalid visa — at least I assume it was an invalid student’s visa,” PUPD Capt. Song Kang said.

Kang said PUPD was contacted by “border patrol” agents. Border patrol deals mainly with illegal immigration from the United States’ borders with Canada and Mexico. Issues with visas are generally more likely to come from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but Kang said this incident involved border patrol.

The student was believed to have been at an airport, though Kang did not specify which one, when officials reached out to PUPD. Police logs then describe that PUPD referred the border patrol to Christine Collins, director of International Student Services. Collins declined to comment on any questions relating to the incident.

“There are many things that can prevent a student entering the United States, and the last 12 months have been filled with difficulty and uncertainty due to travel restrictions,” Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty said.

This incident sparks questions about the process foreign students must go through to be allowed to remain in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic created major obstacles in the process of coming to the U.S. Regulations from the Trump administration and foreign governments banned travel and led to visa shortages.

The ISS office offers information and guidance to students dealing with shifting immigration laws, according to the department’s website. The ISS also offers some legal help. Purdue Student Government recently hired an immigration lawyer to provide legal counsel to international students.

“What is being labeled a ‘visa issue,’” Doty said, “could range from simple mistakes or missing documentation to those requiring a referral to legal counsel.”

From 2019-20 the United States saw a 2% decrease in enrollment of foreign students, according to the ICEF Monitor. Purdue observed a 9% decrease in international students — down from 10,898 students in Fall 2019 to 9,899 in Fall 2020, according to annual enrollment reports from the ISS.

The drop in enrollment could be attributed to existing regulations or the threat of new regulations from the Trump administration in response to the pandemic. Some of these policies included travel bans over several Muslim-majority countries, a travel ban in China and a proposal to limit visa terms for international students.

With the Biden administration now taking charge on immigration, many of these policies and proposals are expected to be altered.

The Biden administration has also supported a plan that would exempt college graduates from green-card caps, allowing them to pursue green cards after graduating.

While many of these proposals must still face the scrutiny of Congress, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have praised many of Biden’s immigration proposals.

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