President Trump’s administration announced on Tuesday that it would abandon its earlier plan to force international students enrolled in online classes to leave the United States.
Existing visa requirements for exchange visitors and international students has long prohibited them to come to the United States to enroll in online-only classes. As per ICE’s guidance released on July 6, it planned to continue this policy even though many universities were moving their courses online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following this, the lives of more than a million students were thrown to disarray, trying to make last-minute changes to leave the country, change their course schedules or transfer to another university. Many students had left anticipating such a move much earlier as well.
Vatsala Thapar, a student of computer science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles was quoted.
Travel is in a fragile state and having to possibly fly back and forth during a pandemic is dangerous, unrealistic, and very expensive. I flew home to Delhi from Los Angeles on March 18, right after my college said that it would close.
The District of Columbia and attorneys general of 17 states filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for not allowing international students to take online-only courses this fall semester.
Allison Burroughs, a U.S. federal judge announced that the administration would return to the policy that was in effect in March. As per that policy, international students were permitted to attend all classes online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the administration’s latest move to do a U-turn, David Leebron, the president of Rice University, commented on the development.
“We thought the original rules that were suggested were cruel and misguided and didn’t serve our universities, didn’t serve our students and frankly didn’t serve our country,”