NEWCASTLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Some leaders of Maine’s private schools say they worry continuing efforts in Washington to put more restrictions on immigration could drive away foreign students.
Many of Maine’s 20 private high schools, like Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, have a significant number of international students enrolled. The schools say the foreign students add great diversity and also help the schools financially.
But the director of Independent Schools Association of Northern New England (ISANNE) says the ongoing talk in Washington about restricting immigration — some as recent as this week — is causing foreign students and their families to worry they might not be able to stay in the U.S.
"[There is] also a sense, are they truly welcome in this country," said Laurie Hurd. "I know they feel very welcome in the school communities but the political climate is such that I think they’re pausing in a way that has not been an issue in the past."
Hurd said there have been no new restrictions on foreign students so far, and that schools have not reported any major problems.
Lincoln Academy officials said they had about 90 foreign students last year. They said they expect to be at or near that same level when school starts this year, even though they said registrations at the point were "slightly down."
Laurie Hurd said there are at least a thousand international students attending Maine secondary schools.