Washington-On Monday the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) announced a new rule to reject visas for international students leading to deportation this fall semester.
After attacking the DACA recipients, Trump administration yet again targets international students and immigrants in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that any student who is studying in an American educational institution will be deported from the country if the college continues to function on an online-only course model.
One million international students are currently in a state of shock and distress as their dreams become a playground for the government to play its dirty politics.
Earlier this week, Harvard University and Princeton University declared that they are switching to online-only lectures, given the current coronavirus pandemic. Almost all schools and colleges were looking to use a similar online-only model to curb the coronavirus situation.
However, the POTUS is not particularly happy with this approach and expressed his frustration on Twitter.
He also added a few more tweets explaining how the Democrats and others are using the reason for not opening schools as a political agenda rather than a health issue.
Since most institutions did not choose to fulfill Trump’s wish, he has decided to get back at these institutions by attacking international students to get his way. ICE then released a guide according to which no international students will gain visas if their enrolled colleges do not have a hybrid course model in place. The students that are already in America must either leave the country voluntarily before the fall semester begins or transfer to a different university that will be conducting on-campus lectures. If the students fail to do any of the above, they will be deported beginning of the fall semester.
In its FAQ section, ICE defended itself by saying that the reason behind this rule was “adopting a new approach to balance public health concerns against the approaches that schools are taking to combat the spread of COVID-19“. It also states that “through this guidance, DHS is seeking to maximize flexibility for students to continue their studies while minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by not admitting students into the country who do not need to be present to attend classes in-person“.
With the fall semester is only a few weeks away, it can be tough for students to get a transfer at this point, given the pandemic. Hence, students are entirely relying on their schools to find a way to accommodate a hybrid course model before the 15th of July.
Following the announcement, Harvard and MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology University filed a lawsuit against the DHS and ICE. Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University have openly expressed their support for the lawsuit.
While this is heartbreaking, the guidance brings along varied other unexpected problems for international students. Some of these include;
- A sudden change in career plans.
- Difficulties in booking flights, banned airports.
- A 15-day quarantine that comes with the risk of catching the virus.
- Wifi and bandwidth issues in developing/rural home countries.
- Due to different time zones, lecture schedules may vary. Students may have to attend lectures in the middle of the night.
- Scholarship students may face financial issues while returning home.
- Overall, students will be at a financial loss if they have to study online after paying international college fees.
- Students from China may not be able to access certain websites blocked in their country, which could hamper their assignments.
All of this does not look good for the US as well, with the unexpected transfer of students, its effect on college ranks, and the quality of education. All of these changes and xenophobic rules directly affect the reputation of America. Deporting students who also work in healthcare can impact the economy. It is needless to say, all of this will create an alarming risk of catching the virus for student and university staff.
America is the most affected coronavirus country, with almost no signs of the number decreasing. So there are chances that the colleges that have currently adopted the hybrid course model may switch to online-only all courses again. And if this comes as a sudden move, international students will have to leave in between the semester, since this new rule is applicable until the end of the semester in summer. Hence, it is more than necessary right now to push the courts, to discard this rule before the beginning of the fall semester.
Below are a few links to petitions to save international students from deportation.