Congress is calling for the decision to be reversed, US Congresswoman Debbie Dingell said on Thursday (local time) reacting to the new rule on F1 visa.
“Credits don’t always transfer, leases are already signed, & tuition is already paid. ICE requiring international students taking online classes to leave the country or transfer to in-person classes is deeply concerning. Congress is calling for the decision to be reversed,” Dingell said in a tweet, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department..
The Trump administration has announced those F-1 and M-1 (non-academic and vocational students) visa holders planning to take online classes only will not be allowed to remain in the U.S.
Dingell, in the tweet, also attached a letter to Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary, Department of Homeland Security.
The later dated July 9 read: “We are writing to express our concern regarding the recent modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program that will end temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students en F-1 and M-1 visas taking classes online for the fall 2020 semester.”
“With many universities transitioning to online learning, this policy will potentially require many international students to leave the country during the COVID-19 pandemic rather than continue their studies this fall. This will pose a threat to our nation’s leadership in higher education and will have significant human costs if not promptly rescinded,” the letter said.
The letter pointed out that according to State Department data, there are nearly 400,000 holders of F visas and nearly 10,000 holders of M visas in the United States as of last year.
“These students play a key role in academic life in universities across the country by supporting cutting-edge research, enriching campus life, and helping the United States maintain its leadership role in higher education. Their presence is not only fundamental to academic life, bit also support hundreds of thousands ofjobs across the country each academic year,” said the letter.
“Given that many universities are planning on temporarily transitioning to online-only teaming for the fall 2020 semester, this new policy puts many of these students at risk of deportation if they attempt to continue their education in the United States this fall. This disruption will threaten university communities and have a chilling effect on international students’ willingness to study in the United States moving forward,” the letter said.
Pointing out that international students are a key part of the higher education ecosystem, the letter stated that the modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program are needlessly punitive and fundamentally threaten a cornerstone of “our nation’s higher education system”.
“With this mind, we urge you to rescind these changes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program,” it said.
India on Thursday said it has conveyed its concerns to the United States regarding the new rule on F1 visa and urged Washington to keep in mind the role educational exchanges have played in the developing relationship between the two countries.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday announced that the international students pursuing courses in the United States must leave the country if their institutes have switched to complete the online course due to the coronavirus pandemic.