Several Congressmen and high-level educational institutions opposed the change in guidelines that require international students in the United States to take at least one personal course with an F-1 visa or have the prospect of deportation.
The State Department, however, claimed that many international students who wanted to study in the US this fall may still have the opportunity to do so.
The State Department’s statement comes a day after the new directive has caused panic among international students, most of whom are from China and India.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Internal Security Committee, and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, chairman of the Subcommittee on Border Security, Relief and Operations, said in a joint statement that the new policy would harm the economy, harm US institutions and do nothing Improve America’s security.
“There is no obvious legitimate reason for the inflexibility of the (Trump) administration vis-à-vis international students attending college and university and applying” online only “policies. The administration just seems to want them to go,” said the two legislators .
“International students contribute billions of dollars to the US economy, and if they are banished from our country, Americans will be deprived of much-needed income. We cannot allow President Trump to continue destroying jobs and causing unnecessary suffering just to satisfy his immigrant base. We are against this ruthless policy and the permanent damage it will do to universities and communities across the country, ”they said.
Uncertainty and complexity
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne expressed concern that the decision will create more uncertainty and complexity for international students.
“Our international students must be able to make further progress in completing their studies, and as a university we intend to support them in this. We will work with our colleagues and national associations to understand how this can best be done in the context of these new rules and to urge the administration to rethink their position, ”he said.
The State Department, which issues visas for international students, said the decision was temporary. “This enables a mix of personal and some online courses to meet the requirements for a student status without a migrant background,” it says.
“This temporary placement provides immigrant students with more flexibility to continue their education in the United States, while allowing adequate social distance in open and operational locations across America,” said the State Department.
“International students must continue to receive the appropriate visa and may be subject to other visa processing or travel restrictions due to Covid-19. Students should contact the local US embassy or consulate for country-specific information, ”it said.
In a statement, the Indian Embassy’s Student Hub encouraged students to monitor their university’s official channels for university / program-specific information and to keep in touch with their university’s DSOs for further questions.
“We will post updates in the coming days as we get more clarity about this broadcast message,” it said.
Congresswoman Debbie Dengell asked the Department of Homeland Security to review his decision.
“Removing these students because of circumstances beyond their control is pointless and worrying. There doesn’t seem to be any public benefit to the US, it will affect the quality of education that students receive due to the many logistical challenges, while not many stay on campus and in the classroom and contribute to education and cultural experiences in many in other ways, and many have already signed leases and paid tuition fees, ”she said.
“Annulment of previous decisions”
“Despite all the uncertainty, it is worrying that the federal government is initiating a deportation procedure for international students, especially given the reversal of an earlier agency decision at the start of the pandemic,” she said.
“Online courses are safe and meaningful ways for universities to protect their students while providing quality education, while scientists study the best way to ensure that students can learn in a safe environment,” said the congresswoman.
Given the high likelihood that the pandemic will continue to make distance learning the predominant form of instruction at universities across the country, the rule change means that most of the estimated 1.1 million international students will be expelled from the country in September, Chancellor Felix V. Matis Rodriguez from the City University of New York said.
In a statement, he said that this misguided policy change also threatens to harm higher education at a time when the country’s universities are working hard to cope with the double health and economic crises caused by the pandemic.
“We are again disappointed that our country’s leadership continues to limit and reduce the opportunities for those looking for it in the United States,” he said, adding that he had instructed his administration to review and follow up on those measures would help these students stay in the country and continue their education at CUNY.