An examination of legal issues concerning international and immigrant students in the U.S.
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International students contribute to America’s scientific and technical research, bring international perspectives into U.S. classrooms, help prepare American undergraduates for global careers, and lead to longer-term business relationships. They have a considerable impact on the country’s economy. In 2015, international students contributed $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 373,000 jobs. However, although the international students keep flowing into the country in steadily growing numbers, the rate of increase is much below the ratio of worldwide growth of international students, which means that international students choose to pursue higher education in other countries, as numerous competitors have emerged to seize a larger slice of the growing global marketplace of students. The present dissertation first sets the framework of the study. In the second step, it reviews the historical, social and administrative context of international mobile students and international student enrollment trends in U.S. colleges and universities, and analyzes the inbound mobility patterns over the three periods of years based on the data from OECD UIS and IIE Open Doors statistics. Having thus set a picture of the inbound mobility pattern, the study then reviews the laws and policies and political, social, and economic movements affecting the enrollment of the U.S. inbound international students—The Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act, Arab Spring, the 9/11, Eurozone Crisis, Brexit vote and other factors—in the third step. The fourth step is where the study tries to analyze the context and the factors and group them under legal issues, students’ expectations and motivations, and factors affecting application. The dissertation concludes, in the fifth step, reviewing and presenting some recommendations.