Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Trump Online Education Policy Under Fire

As previously reported and updated on the ImmigrationProf blog, the Trump administration has announced new policies that, among other things, requires noncitizen students whose universities are holding classes entirely online because of COVID-19 to leave the country.  The announcement has provoked quite a response.

The Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic has prepared a FAQ on the new policy.  International students should read this informative FAQ.

Mary Sue Coleman, President of the Association of American Universities, issued a statement on the Trump administration's new policy:

"This ICE policy is immensely misguided and deeply cruel to the tens of thousands of international students who come to the United States every year. It is also likely to do further damage to our nation’s universities, which are already struggling with unprecedented uncertainty, massive logistical complications, and significant financial losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the impact on international graduate students and undergraduate students already in the United States will be devastating, causing massive disruptions in their learning and research. This policy change would also have negative economic impacts, because international students spend millions of dollars in our communities every year."

Former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, University of California President Janet Napolitano released the following statement:

“The University of California recognizes that our country benefits when the world’s brightest students and academics learn, teach and research on our shores. International students provide unique contributions that enrich our campuses and their perspectives ensure that we continue to be a leading academic force around the world. Making it more difficult for international students to study here undermines decades of collaboration between the United States and our international partners, particularly in fields that contribute to America’s economic vitality.

“ICE’s announcement is perplexing, given that some degree of remote instruction is necessary for colleges and universities to protect the safety and well-being of their communities and the public at large, while still allowing students to continue their studies. Challenges and uncertainty related to COVID-19 are already weighing heavily on students; now is the worst time to burden them further with anxiety.

“UC will assess fully how these changes will affect our campuses and our international students. However, this much is abundantly clear: The Trump administration’s latest actions impacting international students jeopardize our nation’s future as a worldwide leader in research and innovation.”

Jill Filipovic in an op/ed for CNN wrote that the policy is "another disgusting, transparent Trump administration attack on foreigners and immigrants, one that is solely about malice -- and one that further diminishes the United States' influence and reputation while putting human life at risk."  For further criticism, click here, here, here, here.

UPDATE (July 10): Click here for an analysis of the trade and public health implications of the administration's announcement of the student visa policy change.   


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