The July 6, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) proposed Temporary Final Rule on elimination of exemptions for international students taking online classes due to the pandemic is beyond comprehension.
U.S. universities are facing impossibly complex and critical decisions about how to manage the safe resumption of higher education in the fall. All students and their families are navigating how to best plan for their educational futures. International students are making crucial decisions that will rely on the ever-changing landscape of public health and government regulations.
Into this already challenging and stressful time, the rule requiring in-person learning will only serve to further discourage international students from attending U.S. institutions. U.S. institutions will be forced into making decisions based on ameliorating the impact of irrational government rules instead of good public health practices. Instead of making U.S. campuses safer, this rule risks students, faculty, and staff at colleges and universities around the country.
The importance of international students to the intellectual and financial health of U.S. higher education and the U.S. economy is undisputed. In the midst of a global pandemic, why is the U.S. government taking steps to harm the very institutions that can help us to recover? This proposed rule is cruel, irresponsible, and senseless.