If your school is 100% online, leave America—US Immigration tells foreign student
U.S As most American universities have since switched to online classes following the global pandemic, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, in a new policy statement, has asked international students to leave the country if their classes will be wholly online this fall session, or transfer to schools that hold in-person or hybrid classes.
Failure to adhere to this directive, international students “may face immigration consequences including but not limited to the initiation of removal proceedings,” the statement said.
This is in line with an existing rule forbidding wholly online sessions for international students who are on the F-1 and M-1 visas—a rule partially waived in the light of the pandemic. Many had expected the waiver to be extended.
Though President Trump has said “schools must open in the fall”—mid-August, America’s coronavirus spread continues to rise, with nearly 52,000 new cases recorded as at July 5. Many American universities say students will return to school this fall but in controlled numbers.
Apart from stalling the education of those in the US, the new directive may also affect international students who traveled to their home countries but got stuck following the COVID-19 outbreak.
International students in active study may only hope that their schools will initiate hybrid classes to keep them on the right side of immigration, even as concerns for COVID-19 persist.
A Nigerian student studying in an American university told Nigeria Abroad that the directive shows no regard for the high tuition paid by international students to the American university system, not to mention the economic implications of suddenly uprooting them from their bases, more so amid a Pandemic.
“How do you even travel back home when there are no flights? We are not posing any problem to society; instead we contribute financially and in other means. Why is it urgent to force this policy on us when the whole world is still in crisis?” she asked rhetorically.
Source: Nigerians Abroad