International Education Updates

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am writing today to update you on our university’s continuing work to advocate for our undocumented and international students.

In keeping with our founding mission and continued purpose to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all, Illinois Tech has taken on an increased leadership role in advocating for national policies that support the growth and success of international education as well as protect our undocumented students.

As the national co-chair of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, I have helped set an agenda that we hope will result in much needed reforms, and we are working closely with the White House and the United States Congress to advance these initiatives.

The Presidents’ Alliance was an important voice during the transition and that has continued as the new administration has begun its work on immigration reform. Recently, I joined several of my fellow university presidents and Presidents’ Alliance staff for an in-depth conversation with White House policy staff. We had a substantive discussion of the president’s legislative and regulatory agenda to protect undocumented students and to support international students being able to study in the U.S.

President Biden’s Immigration Bill
As you likely know, President Joe Biden recently proposed a comprehensive bill that aims to address a number of urgent challenges in our immigration system. The Presidents’ Alliance has worked diligently to raise a number of matters critical to our community, and I’m happy to report that the bill contains several important and needed reforms. In short, the U.S. Citizenship Act introduces a strong foundation for a humane, just, and fair immigration system.

Among the many proposals in the bill that will have an impact on higher education are:

  • Dual Intent—Modernizing our immigration system through dual intent for international students by removing an arcane legal requirement requiring students to prove that they have no intention of legally immigrating to the U.S. after graduation. This crucial reform would allow international students to come to the U.S., to study, and to decide later whether to apply for a green card.
  • Increasing Green Card Access—Retaining international STEM graduates through increased green cards. The legislation creates a pathway to green cards for Ph.D. STEM degree graduates. We have had substantive discussions urging Congress and the White House to expand that provision to include master’s and bachelor’s STEM degree recipients as well.
  • Path to Citizenship Reforms—An eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and a three-year path for DACA recipients, Dreamers, TPS holders, and others.
  • State Authority for Higher Education Support—Return state autonomy to invest in higher education for all residents. Repeals laws making it difficult to extend benefits such as in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, allowing more residents to afford a college degree.
Regulatory Action
Working through the Presidents’ Alliance, our university and others are making progress in reversing an array of policies advanced by the previous administration that had the effect of removing protections for undocumented students and discouraging international students from studying in the U.S. These positive first steps include preserving and fortifying DACA, reversing discriminatory immigration bans, a freeze and review of all pending immigration regulations, and the creation of a new presidential task force focusing on improving immigration to the U.S.

As with any advocacy efforts, this work will take time, but we as a university are committed to continuing in our leadership role around these important topics that speak so centrally to the core of Illinois Tech.


Alan W. Cramb
Alan W. Cramb
President, Illinois Institute of Technology