Maya Nasr was admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 16 to study aerospace engineering. Currently a doctoral student there, she has been working on NASA’s next Mars rover, slated for launch this summer.
“By the time I finish my Ph.D., I will have spent 10 years in the U.S. researching what I am passionate about — getting people to Mars and human space exploration,” said Ms. Nasr, 23, who is Lebanese. “I would really like to stay here and work in this field.”
But recently she has been wracked with worry that the economic downturn that has left millions of Americans unemployed could threaten the visa program that would allow her to work as a foreigner in the United States once she graduates. “If I had to, I would consider Canada, the U.K. or Europe, but the U.S. is the place,” she said.
President Trump is expected to issue an executive order early this week to temporarily suspend various work visas that businesses rely on to hire foreigners, and also lay the groundwork for regulatory changes that would limit employment opportunities for foreign graduates of U.S. universities like Ms. Nasr.
The details and scope of the plan remain unclear, and it is still a work in progress. But the coming order has elicited an extraordinary response from a diverse coalition that includes universities and sectors spanning manufacturing, technology and consulting, which have been inundating the White House with letters and phone calls.
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