UPDATED: ASLA and CELA Oppose Trump Administration Nonimmigrant Student Exemption Modifications

UPDATE: Amidst mounting pressure from colleges, universities, and organizations across the country–including strenuous objection from ASLA and CELA–the Trump Administration has abandoned a policy that would have forced international students at U.S. universities, including those studying landscape architecture, to leave the country. 

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) strongly oppose the United States Department of Homeland Security’s modification of temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the fall 2020 semester.

The modification forbids nonimmigrant students now taking full course loads online to remain in the United States, requiring them to either leave the country, enroll in a school offering in-person instruction, or face deportation.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities are working to provide a quality education and safe learning and living environments for students and faculty. As a result, many have adopted virtual learning as a substitute for in-person instruction. Penalizing hard-working students for the life-saving precautions of their schools is unfair, impractical, and harmful not only to the students, but to the integrity of American higher education and the economic future of the nation. At the same time, it will erode the hard-won stature of American universities internationally.

“Landscape architecture students come from all around the globe to study at accredited programs in the United States. Each one brings a unique perspective that enriches the learning experience for themselves and their classmates, and ultimately lifts the landscape architecture profession as a whole,” said ASLA President Wendy Miller, FASLA. “Depriving those dedicated students of the opportunity to remain in the United States is profoundly short-sighted and detrimental not only to the field of landscape architecture, but to every field of study.”

“In 1975, I left my home in Turkey to pursue my graduate studies in the United States, so I know firsthand the challenges of being a nonimmigrant student,” said CELA President Sadik Artunc, FASLA, “If I had been forced to return to my native country without a degree, I certainly would not be leading the most recognized educational organization of landscape architectural academicians in the world.”

ASLA and CELA strongly urge the Trump Administration to reconsider this policy change immediately.


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Landscape Architecture Magazine

Jennifer Reut 

The Dirt
Jared Green

The Field
Ali Hay