UM supports Harvard lawsuit seeking to stop deportation of some global students

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2020

These students are crucial to the success of the state's institutions of higher education, the college leaders said, and their potential loss of visas "threatens the futures of many worldwide students amidst quite grim public health prospects over the next several months". There are existing requirements that global students take classes in person, but those rules were eased as schools across the United States went online-only in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Well, the current rules, the regulations that govern foreign students, allow at most one online class and so we're expanding the flexibility massively, to a level never done before, so that schools can use hybrid models and can design reopenings", Cuccinelli said.

The decision came after many universities chose to hold classes online in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"The proposed policy throws the lives of hundreds of thousands of students, and the operations of hundreds of colleges and universities, into uncertainty just weeks before the start of the fall term, to the detriment of the United States and its institutions of higher education", the letter continues.

At least one local student already has been blocked from entering the U.S.: a man from Belarus who is enrolled at Harvard University.

"We have students in more than 200 institutions and each institution is handling it differently. Students have to contact their school to know which policy they have adopted".

Additionally, Mukantabana noted, "Students should have received an advisory directly from their school and they should act accordingly". They should go home, and then they can return when the school opens.

"Well, for now things are chaotic".

"To our worldwide students, I say this: You have our unequivocal support", Syverud said.

Another concern with the new guidance, she adds, is the fact that travel itself is risky at the moment, hence not the best measure to be taken by the U.S.

Under the new guidelines from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released this week, visas will not be issued to worldwide students enrolled in colleges that are only operating online this fall, forcing them to either leave the country or transfer to another school.

"Most schools are still trying to figure out what their mix (between online and in-person classes) is going to be", Alden said.

Statistics from the U.S. embassy in Rwanda indicate that there were over 1,292 Rwandan students in the United States during the 2018-19 academic year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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