International Students React to Recent U.S. Presidential Election


Stephen Li

Webbies closely monitored the US election from around the world.

The “Road to 270” has never been easy. On November 7th, 2020, Joseph Biden was projected to win the 2020 presidential election defeating the notorious president Donald J. Trump. 

From tightening up H-1B visa issuing to degrading Mexicans by calling them “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists, it is no news that the Trump administration has not been welcoming towards the international community. However, the most recent debate was regarding the policy targeting international students amid the ongoing pandemic. On July 24th, 2020, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security, issued guidelines preventing newly enrolled international students from studying in the U.S. if their colleges are operating only online this fall.  

“Nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9th will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online,” said the ICE. 

Having a long tradition with a rich international community, Webb takes pride in its diversity. Students from all around the world share how they feel about the new president in the office. For some, it stands for essential changes regarding their future plans while for some others, it does not hit home to them as much.  

“My viewpoint on Trump has not changed because my morals have not sided with his since 2016,” said Laura Li (‘22), from Saudi Arabia., He consistently makes inflammatory comments and false promises using arguments constructed on emotions rather than reason…his rhetoric is also racist and sexist. His numerous sexual misconduct allegations do not make it any better. Biden’s presidential victory also shows how Trump is stubborn and plays victim because he refuses to concede, sabotaging a peaceful transfer of power. He may not have been a bad president because he certainly did make several accomplishments during his first term, but the consequences of his actions heavily outweigh his achievements.” 

“In this election, I supported Biden, because Trump is more radical, and Biden is more predictable as a normal politician,” said Anthony Huang (‘24), a freshman from Hangzhou, China.  

“Personally, since I’m a US citizen, I don’t think the election really affects whether I plan on coming back to the U.S.,” said Amir Azfali (‘21), an American citizen who spends most of his time in Thailand.But I feel that it could impact whether after college I want to live in the U.S. because I’m lucky to have that choice. But I can totally see how for other international students, with the wrong person in office it could affect their future plans.”  

“If I’m being honest, I don’t know much about Joe Biden’s plan towards education, so I don’t have much comment on how that’s going to affect me,” said Alicia Jaqua (‘21), who is a current Peruvian resident that has also lived in Japan and the United States., “I haven’t thought about how it’s going to affect me economically as well, because I don’t imagine myself starting a business in the next four years, so I might be focusing more on part times and things along that line.” 

“I’m happy with the result of the election because planned-parenthood is here to stay!Alicia said,We don’t know much about the new judge yet but I think personally, if I ever come across the issue with birth control and abortion, it would make the situation easier and I would be able to have a second option.”  

“In 2016 I had no idea that I might be living in the U.S. in the future, so it didn’t really affect me,” said Maria Lykhtar (‘22), a Spanish national.Since I go to Webb now, I am technically living in America and the country’s government can actually impact me being allowed to enter the U.S. or not.” 

“Honestly, I agree with Trump’s political opinions and ideas such as his efforts to strengthen the American economy,” said Michael Fu (‘24), a freshman from Beijing, China.However, in this election I supported Biden because I feel like he can control the pandemic more which allows me to go on campus earlier.”  

“I do think Biden getting elected has changed some of my plans,” said Pui Fong (‘24) from Hong Kong. I may be able to go to America sooner than expected, but I am still unsure about definite plans.” 

This was an election unlike any other in American history, being amidst a pandemic and having a record-breaking number of not only mail-in votes but votes all together. To most international students, the focus of the 2020 election has been on the control of COVID-19 in America, specifically travelling regulations. As the White House welcomes its new host, significant changes will take place regarding education, healthcare, immigration, and many other essential issues. As one of the largest and most important groups that supports the economy and diversity of the country, international students are staying generally positive and hopeful towards president-elect Joe Biden’s presidency.