The federal agency ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, plans to deport college students here on student visas if their school is only offering online courses this fall.
“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,” a press release on ICE’s website reads. “If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
This is bad. ICE just told students here on student visas that if their school is going online-only this fall, the students must depart the United States and cannot remain through the fall semester. https://t.co/8DteVzexLB pic.twitter.com/OfkWRKFZZE
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) July 6, 2020
There are a few immediate questions stemming from this announcement: Why? Who does this help? What about students in different time zones? What about students with no access to WiFi abroad? What happens if students get COVID-19 as a result of the forced deportation?
The announcement quickly prompted backlash, with people criticizing the agency's decision to target international students.
just so unnecessarily evil
there's no reason at all for this
abolish ICE https://t.co/Uyn67MNuLI
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) July 6, 2020
Is there a guy at ICE whose entire job is to come up with cartoonist villainous plans and them implement them as policy? https://t.co/GUV2aZovNS
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) July 6, 2020
ICE is now trying to deport students enrolled in colleges and universities that are teaching exclusively online due to COVID-19.
This is needlessly cruel and must be challenged in court. https://t.co/aEVnrneIt2
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) July 6, 2020
ICE attorney on the latest decision to tell international students at online-only schools to transfer or go home: "Who comes up with this shit?"
— Hamed Aleaziz (@Haleaziz) July 6, 2020
For the spring and summer semesters, international students were able to take classes online as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded. It’s unclear why ICE is now threatening those same students with deportation, but surely the ACLU is gearing up to file a new lawsuit right about now.
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