Assistant dean educates students on Visas, Green Cards

Ryan Meyer, Staff Reporter

Andy Kabasele, assistant dean of international education, updated a group of international students on immigration over refreshments Wednesday at the Arcola/Tuscola Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The topics covered ranged from changes in immigration policies to the Test of English as a foreign language to immigrants.

Kabasele held the Q&A session in order to educate international students on what they can expect regarding their visas and updated policies.

“I need to make sure that international students are aware of changes that affect their Visa (and) immigration statuses,” Kabasele said. “So, by giving this type of event, they are becoming aware of those changes.”

Kabasele is satisfied with the diversity represented on campus but said that Eastern’s international student numbers could be higher.

“Representation is different than enrollment. We currently have 60 countries represented at Eastern Illinois University. That is a good representation. But now, we need an enrollment increase. Country-wise, we are good to go,” Kabasele said.

One hundred and seventy-one international students who applied to Eastern last semester had their visas denied, Kabasele said.

“The denied visa is done by the U.S. consulate, the U.S. embassies overseas. They are the only ones with the authority to actually grant or deny visas,” Kabasele said.

Kabasele also said during the session that 103 prospective international students had their Visas denied this semester, and that most student visas are granted to western Europeans, and African students receive the least.

Kabasele explained to the students that only a Green Card could classify one as a U.S. citizen.

Applying for permanent residence is a difficult process with many obstacles, Kabasele said. There are many elements to the application process individuals must go through to receive their Visas.

“You apply for it; you submit the forms,” he said. “The next step, you have to go for fingerprints, and after that you have to do an interview. Face to face with an immigration officer. So, you have to demonstrate to an immigration officer that you’ve never been on a public charge before.”

According to, “The final rule defines public charge as an alien who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period.”

The Department of Homeland Security implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule on Feb. 24.

Kabasele said the number of non-immigrants who accept government aid out of necessity lead to a large amount of them being denied in their attempts to gain citizenship.

“It is expected that millions of non-immigrants will be denied Green Cards this year alone,” he said.

The students that attended had a relaxed discussion about their experiences getting their student Visas and attending Eastern.

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].