Texas A&M International University officials say that the recent decision by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow already enrolled part-time Canadian or Mexican students to continue to take courses until the end of the year is only a partial answer.
The INS announced Monday that part-time students enrolled before May 22 would be allowed to complete their classes, but would not be able to sign up for new courses as part-time students.
"It's a temporary fix, but is simply not adequate," said TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck, "What we believe is necessary is consideration for a permanent change to immigration law.
Keck said that the University had been encouraging part-time students to maintain their current enrollment status, in the hopes that the May decision would be revisited.
"Now that the decision has been reversed, we're hopeful that a more strategic answer will come from measures such as HR4967, a bill proposed by U.S. Representative Kolbe (R-Arizona), who seeks a new non-immigrant classification for Canadian and Mexican residents who live near the border and want to commute to U.S. Colleges," he explained.
This week's decision was a reversal of the INS' May announcement that it would enforce US laws that would not provide student visas to part-time Mexican or Canadian students.
In May, Keck had indicated that about 50-60 TAMIU students would be affected by the decision and lamented its enforcement.
"This university was founded not only to serve the U.S., but also the entire region," Keck said then, "We have existed as a community in which through education we are able to enhance not only our city but our entire region."
Full-time enrollment for students during fall and spring consists of 12 hours for undergraduates and nine hours for graduate students.
According to the Institute of International Education, 25,769 Canadian students and 10,670 Mexican students are enrolled at U.S. colleges on a full-time basis.
For additional information, please contact the Office of the University Registrar at 326.2250, or visit offices in Killam Library 168. Office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
Registration for the Fall Semester is Friday, Aug. 23.