ICE Announcement Puts International Students’ Future In Jeopardy

By: Jordan Coll / Asst. News Director

According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, international students who are pursuing higher education are required to leave the country or face possible deportation if they are only taking online courses.

Universities have started to release their plans to address the current pandemic for the upcoming fall semester, a few institutions have already laid out their plan for the fall semester. FIU, for example, has said that around 60 percent of classes would be hybrid or online only.

Institutions such as MIT and Harvard have sued the Trump administration over the new international-student policy.

This has placed many students who are on visas under precarious conditions as they intend on pursuing degrees in the U.S. 

“The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States,” according to ICE officials. 

“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. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”

This recent announcement comes as a shock to roughly 4,000 international students who attend FIU, and the over a million international students in the country. 

“You would think that a government, especially during these unprecedented times… would send out a lending hand to the international community,” said Monica Lebro, a senior majoring in Broadcasting Journalism.

F-1 visas are issued to students who are studying at the university level who wish to enter the U.S.

As an international student from Colombia with an F-1 student visa, she believes that this announcement has put into question her status as an international student. “I am graduating in the fall so I will be sitting down with my advisor and the ISSS to look at my schedule very closely,” said Lebro.

With the fall semester starting next month, international students are asked to transfer to another university in the search for a face-to-face course.

“How am I supposed to find a place to live in another city or to room with someone in such a short period of time?” said Lebro.

In an update made by the International Student and Scholar Services, students must take “as many of the available face-face or hybrid classes offered that will count towards their program of study possible.”

With airports and international borders still closed due to the global pandemic, many students are just viewing this policy as simply unrealistic.

“A plan like this is just not feasible, you are asking us to go back to places that are not even opened up yet,” said Lebro.

“A plan like this is just not feasible, you are asking us to go back to places that are not even opened up yet,” said Lebro.

According to an email sent by President Mark B. Rosenberg, the university will be committed to following federal guidelines as well as providing the necessary adjustments for international students.

These accommodations “have the flexibility that will allow us to conform with the visa requirements for our international students in the federal announcement,” according to the email. 

This upcoming fall semester classes will be given in four different ways: face-to-face, hybrid, remote, and online.

FIU intends on addressing its community of international students as follows:

  • Ensure that students’ immigration status remains in compliance and that we meet our students’ educational needs by offering necessary courses in either a hybrid or face-to-face format.
  • Assess the enrollment status of each of our international students to determine what, if any, courses are necessary to remain in compliance with immigration guidelines.
  • Work with academic units to review current course offerings and communicate opportunities to international students.
  • Ensure that new international students who have enrolled for the Fall term will have an opportunity to begin their educational journey at our FIU.

“We will take individual student’s circumstances into consideration and appreciate the sacrifices and personal investment our international students and their families have made in coming to study at FIU,” stated the email.

Be the first to comment on "ICE Announcement Puts International Students’ Future In Jeopardy"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.