Support and Protect Williams International Students

Support and Protect Williams International Students

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On July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) made a series of announcements regarding new immigration regulations for international students studying in the United States. There were several key points to such an announcement, and regardless of whether they are currently inside or outside the United States, the new regulations have negative impacts for international students at any American university.

In the case of Williams, our program falls under the third point of the announcement, a hybrid or in-person program. For hybrid and in-person programs, students who are currently at Williams will be allowed to stay in the country. However, any of us who are outside the country and who were previously considering remote learning now face the possibility of losing our F-1 visa status. This means that if we wanted to return for spring or fall 2021 semester, we would have to re-apply and undergo such a process again. The announcement also states that if Williams were to move to online learning halfway through the semester, international students at Williams would be forced to leave the United States. However, many of our home countries have very unstable situations at the moment, and there is a possibility that travel bans, closed airports, health and financial concerns could prevent us from returning home if such a thing were to occur. In staying in the US during such a situation we would face getting stranded or being deported. 

For these reasons, we ask that Williams establish measures to protect and support international students if such a situation were to occur. Measures could include financial, and legal aid in such a situation, as well as the ability for international students to reside on campus. 

Furthermore, we also urge that Williams guarantee the possibility of staying on campus for all international students during and after the Thanksgiving break, given that many students may face challenges at this time with returning home.