Rep. Greg Stanton led members of the Arizona Congressional delegation in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling for a 30-day extension of the comment period for a proposed U.S. Department of Homeland Security rule that would impact Arizona’s higher education institutions. The comment period is scheduled to close Oct. 26.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Ruben Gallego and Tom O’Halleran also signed onto the letter.

The proposed rule would limit international student visa lengths, place additional restrictions on student visas based on an individual’s country of origin and endanger the academic careers of more than one million international students. If the rule were to move forward, Arizona’s universities could lose thousands of talented international students and their contributions to the institutions and surrounding communities. 

A 2018 report from NAFSA: Association of International Educators found that the nearly 23,000 international students enrolled across the state contributed $727.6 million to Arizona’s economy and supported 8,745 jobs. International students who attended Arizona State University contributed the most at $365 million and housed 4,687 of those supported jobs. Arizona is also ranked as the top 14 destination in the United States for international students. 

"As members who represent Arizona in Congress, it is our job to support our world class universities that attract over 22,000 students from around the world who choose to learn from our educators and substantially contribute to our state’s economy,” the co-signers wrote. “With the current deadline fast approaching and the COVID-19 pandemic straining institutions of higher education who are hard at work ensuring their students have the resources they need, we believe given the importance of this proposed rule that these institutions should be given ample amount of time to express the impact of the policy." 

Earlier this month, Stanton joined more than 100 of his colleagues in calling on Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to reconsider the proposed rule, citing international students’ economic impact and meaningful contributions to universities’ research, culture, and academic life. 

Full text of the letter is available here.