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The University of Pennsylvania Must Resist ICE & Protect International Students

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(cover image: War Study Papers // Imin Yeh)

We, the University of Pennsylvania community of faculty, students, and staff call on Penn to unequivocally and publicly reject the ruling of the July 6, 2020 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) modification of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) impacting F-1 and M-1 international students. The full language of the ICE ruling can be found here. 

Penn has recently declared that the majority of classes will be taught online in Fall 2020. Under the ICE ruling, international students currently in the US would be required to return to campus to take classes in-person or risk deportation. Many international students are currently out of the country and unable to return to the United States due to visa, health, or travel restrictions. Others are in the US unable to return to their country of origin due to travel restriction. These students would not be allowed to take their courses online. 

We demand that Penn publicly denounce the xenophobic terms of this ICE ruling and protect its international students from deportation. Anything less amounts to collaboration with the government’s racist, anti-immigrant, and xenophobic attack on the most vulnerable members of our community. 

We demand that international students who are currently abroad and unable to return to the United States be allowed to take their courses online and maintain full-time status. Students' financial aid and stipends must be maintained. It is unconscionable to require students to travel back to campus during a global health pandemic. 

We demand that international students who are currently in the U.S. should be afforded the same rights and privileges as US residents: that is, to stay in the US and take their classes online along with their peers. No one should be forced to attend in-person meetings until it is safe to do so, and any “solution” that requires they do so is unacceptable.

The University of Pennsylvania must provide refuge and free legal support for all international students facing risk of deportation or forced dis-enrollment from school. Penn must create flexible structures of support that allow international students to maintain their enrollment status. Penn must apply its institutional power and reputation to lobby against and strike down the ICE ruling. 



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