Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the chair of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, has introduced S. 823, legislation that would reform F-1 student rules for those attending public schools in the US. Under current law, an F-1 can only attend a public school in the US for one year even though F-1 students are required to pay tuition to the school system in an amount at least as high as the cost of educating them.The bill would allow students to attend for longer periods as long as they pay their way.

Why should we care when these same students can attend private schools for an unlimited amount of time? A lot of public schools, particularly in rural areas, face closure if they can't increase their enrollments and some innovative school districts like the one in Newcomb, New York are re-branding their schools as international prep schools as they welcome students from around the globe. It's a great way to bring the world to American kids that ordinarily would have little contact with international culture and it provides international students with exposure to an aspect of America that they often miss.

Immigration politics have blocked even relatively modest bills like this one from passing over the last few years, but hopefully we're going to see some change this year. My visits to the Hill last week leave me optimistic so hopefully this bill will have a real shot this year.