Kamala Harris, US VP-Elect & Daughter of International Students

US vice president-elect and senator from California, Kamala Harris, speaking in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 27, 2020. Source: Eric Baradat/AFP

I’ve seen several articles about the status of the new vice president-elect as the daughter of international students. It’s heart-warming. The irony is that both of her parents – Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris are from India and Jamaica, respectively – were supposed to return to their home countries after completing their studies, a condition of the F-1 (student) visa. Such is the dance that is the US student visa interview.

Just think of how many former international students who are now immigrants answered that question about point #3 – returning to their home country to prove nonimmigrant intent – in order to obtain the visa. Maybe they answered honestly not knowing what would happen in the future or they knew and told the consular officer what s/he needed to hear. The point is the process has always been a charade, a farce, a hoop to jump through. It’s a nod and a wink situation. Just stick to the script in order to increase your chances of getting the prized F-1.

The fact is the US, including its economy, should be grateful that so many international students who chose to remain were allowed to. It needs them – desperately and now more than ever. Hopefully, the Biden/Harris administration will devote some time to fixing a broken visa system, including F-1s for international students.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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