Message from President Folt on Executive Order Temporarily Suspending New Work Visas

June 23, 2020

Dear Trojan Community,

Yesterday, President Trump issued an executive order suspending the issuance of some types of new non-immigrant visas, including H-1B and H-4, that allow many highly skilled and respected faculty and staff to work at USC.

We will be reaching out to anyone who is directly affected by these changes, but I want to clarify immediately: these changes do not apply to current visa holders or others currently holding a non-immigrant visa. There are currently 341 H-1B employees at USC, and I want to assure them that USC will support their ability to continue working at USC.

Beyond this, I want to express my strong disagreement with these changes. Our international community is welcome at USC and they have been vital to our success since our founding. These visa programs give us an essential edge, one that American institutions of higher learning need in an increasingly competitive global education and innovation market. Without them, our ability to attract and educate the best and brightest individuals from around the world diminishes. And we thrive from the unique talents they bring, including hundreds of faculty who teach courses in areas that require rare or highly specialized knowledge. Every single day, we see their contributions across our campuses, in our research labs, hospitals, and classrooms.

As we see these programs curtailed, even temporarily, we are concerned that they will be scaled back even more in the future. If so, the consequences for students, research universities, and the economy at large will be severe.

USC’s senior leadership team and I have been strongly advocating in support of non-immigrant visa programs with the Trump Administration and Congress. Since April, we have been actively working with elected officials, peer institutions, and business leaders, so our advocacy is aligned. In May, I sent a letter to Congressional leaders, and it was widely circulated on Capitol Hill and within the Administration. The University has been speaking with members of Congress, their staff, and senior White House officials, arguing passionately against any scaling back of these critical programs. That work will continue, and will be in partnership with the Association of American Universities and other higher education groups.


Carol L. Folt

President’s Senior Leadership Team
Academic Deans Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President

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