Stop ICE and Save International Students
Stop ICE and Save International Students
ICE just announced that International students may need to leave the US if their universities transition to online-only learning during a global pandemic.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic that experts say can be stopped through social distancing.
Now, The Trump Administration is actively contributing to the spread of COVID by telling students and facility to hold in-person classes.
The Trump Administration is playing politics with innocent student's lives.
International students upend their lives to come to the US, pay the highest tuition rates of all students, and face an uneven playing field in the job landscape.
International students should be able to complete their studies safely online.
They shouldn't have to fear being forced to leave the country with no where to go due to extensive travel bans for US travelers across the world. This new exemption leaves international students to deal with several problems including:
- Finding a country to return to other than their home country if there are bans for US travelers (this involves dealing with additional costs with applying for new visas, lawyers, travel expenses)
- Exposure to COVID by traveling out of the US - this is a health issue being ignored by ICE. Forcing students in the country to leave amid a pandemic is cruel and contributes to the spread of COVID
- For those students coming from China, UAE, and other countries that have strict policies surrounding video conferencing platforms and internet restrictions, the ability to take online classes is severely limited
- Living on US time zones while being on the other side of the world. Most classes happen from 8AM - 5PM (PST, EST)
- Paying full international tuition (highest tuition rates) for taking classes online away from the US.
- Not being able to afford going back; many international students are coming on private student loans and moving back is simply not feasible financially
- Students that come from countries with bad internet connections will struggle to join video lectures, study for tests & take tests.
Here is the updated policy ICE is planning to enforce for the fall 2020 semester include:
- Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
- Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
- Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.
The solutions provided by ICE include steps that are just not feasible, convenient, or applicable for most students:
- "If students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or appropriate medical leave" --> RCL does NOT apply for most students
- Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. --> How easy is transferring schools, not to mention during a pandemic?