To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President; David A. Tirrell, Provost
Date: June 29, 2020
Re: U.S. Proclamation Restricting Entry of International Scholars
Last week, President Trump issued the latest in a series of proclamations affecting entry of foreign nationals into the United States. The Proclamation (Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak) creates anxiety and potential dislocation for members of the Caltech community. We discuss here the particulars of the newest policy and the Institute's efforts to mitigate the harm to our international scholars and to our mission of forefront research and education.
The original considerations involved H-1B and J-1 visas, as well as Optional Practical Training (OPT), which would have affected a broad swath of international students and postdocs. As part of a broad coalition of professional societies, industrial organizations, and the Association of American Universities, Caltech advocated successfully to remove OPT and the STEM OPT extension from the limits imposed by the Proclamation. Hence current and incoming students with F-1 visas, including those who are participating in OPT or STEM OPT programs, will not be impacted. Similarly, research scholars, professors, and short-term scholars may continue to enter the U.S. with J-1 visas (although other categories are restricted). This is good news for the talented international researchers themselves, and for universities and industries across the United States who benefit mightily from their insights and discoveries.
The Proclamation does suspend entry into the U.S. of anyone who seeks to enter using an H1-B visa but does not currently have a valid visa. This traditional pathway for early-career scientists to stay in the United States may be compromised acutely. Caltech and our colleagues across research universities, industry, and national laboratories are working to restore this pathway. We hope to allay the disruption to the international and potential international members of the Caltech community, in the broader context of strengthening U.S. science, technology, and economic prosperity.