PITTSBURGH, PA (July 10, 2020) Mayor William Peduto issued the following statement today in response to the announcement by the Trump Administration of ICE policy changes regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP):
"As we grapple with a global pandemic, the decision to modify federal policies to require international students to take-in person classes to keep their visa status is misguided and callous. These policy changes, rather than improving our national COVID-19 response, would be detrimental to public health, our institutions of higher learning, our economy, and our communities. These newly announced policies represent the continued efforts to chip away at duration of status by the Trump Administration, efforts which hinder the ability of the United States to recruit valuable international talent and further our economy. More importantly, these changes to SEVP policies irresponsibly puts the well-being of our international students in severe jeopardy.
Here in Pittsburgh, our international students not only help drive the academic and research excellence of our institutions of higher learning but are critical contributors to our regional economy and our community infrastructure. The story of Pittsburgh’s revitalization lies not only in bringing young people to learn at our world-class institutions, but in encouraging young minds to invest in Pittsburgh and call it home. The economic benefit of international students on our regional economy is undeniable. In our region, one job is created for every two international students enrolled in our colleges and universities. Supporting international students is critical to the well-being of Pittsburgh, which is why our Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan is committed to ensuring access to our exceptional educational resources and promoting international learning exchanges. The contributions of our international students will be critical to a robust economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond their economic contributions, our international students are a vital part of the fabric of our communities. They volunteer their time to support neighbors in need. They lend their voices to movements for justice. They drive forward research and innovation. Pittsburgh is fundamentally shaped by these students and they make us better every day.
Colleges and universities should have the autonomy to make decisions about reopening based on independent assessments of capacity and risk, without coercion by arbitrary governmental policy. International students should not have to choose between leaving their new homes and prioritizing their health and safety. I stand firmly committed to working to preserve the ability of our international students to remain in Pittsburgh while pursuing their education."