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Yale explores ways to help Chinese graduate students banned from re-entering US

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Yale University is reportedly exploring solutions to help Chinese graduate students who have been banned from re-entering the U.S. complete their studies and earn degrees.

The forced deportations: Dozens of students, despite holding valid visas, are facing challenges re-entering the U.S. after visiting family in China, with some being denied entry and sent back home. The students were subjected to electronic device checks and lengthy interrogations, including being questioned about their funding sources, party affiliations and research connections.

Yale University's response: Yale University, hosting some of the impacted students, has taken proactive measures. The university held a recent town hall, allowing international students to voice concerns and share their experiences anonymously. Yale is actively engaging government agencies, seeking redress to facilitate the return of these students, reported Science.

Harsh realities: Anonymous accounts reveal harrowing experiences, including 8-hour interrogations, body searches, 12-hour solitary confinement and the expensive purchasing of plane tickets due to immediate deportation. Students also express concerns about the potential risks associated with pursuing advanced degrees in the U.S., questioning the worthiness of the endeavor.

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Complex government directives: The denials and deportations may be linked to a 2020 directive by former President Donald Trump granting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority to deny entry to Chinese graduate students and scholars affiliated with institutions supporting the acquisition of foreign civilian technologies with potential military uses. The lack of transparency in CBP's decision-making process has sparked speculation and complicated efforts to understand the motivations behind the re-entry denials.

Yale's commitment: Despite limited influence over visa issuance and entry decisions, Yale expressed its commitment to assisting affected students. The university acknowledged the potential loss to U.S. science and is exploring alternative arrangements, within legal bounds, to support students unable to return to campus.

“If it is possible for any student who can’t get back to New Haven to continue working remotely, we will set that up, as long as it’s legal and can be done,” Lynn Cooley, dean of Yale’s graduate school of arts and sciences, told Science.

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