Firm friend and all around excellent person Sandra Tamari invited Jennifer and I to meet with international students at SIU-Edwardsville. Our meeting took place yesterday and we had a fun time with students from around the world.
Jennifer started up the session with a thorough discussion of the various stages of immigration - non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas, green cards and citizenship. She stressed one of the main points that we make often in our office - that people should take advantage of immigration benefit the first day that it is offered. The discussion touched upon exchange student visas (J-1) and regular student visas (F-1).
Jennifer also discussed asylum and how that process works. The students had a lot of questions about asylum.
We then discussed options for students after their studies are completed. We answered many questions concerning optional practical training and under what conditions can students work while in F-1 student visa status. The H-1B visa, which allows people to work in the U.S. as an alien, was another much discussed topic.
We wrapped up our session with the students by explaining how to handle themselves if we come into contact with law enforcement. Jim mentioned that when he visited Jordan and Saudi Arabia, that he had been pulled over by local police. He recalled how frightened it was to get pulled over by police in a foreign country. But, he explained, despite that fear, international students have rights and that they need to assert those rights when dealing with law enforcement.
All in all, the presentation was very well received. The students all stuck around for photos and additional questions. We hope to visit the fine folks at SIUE again very soon.