Reversal of ICE policy allows foreign students to stay in US

April Feng

In a dramatic turnaround, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently rescinded a rule that would have prevented international university students from remaining in the country due to visa ineligibility.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many universities have opted to convert to classes that are entirely online. However, for students with visa eligibility dependent on college schooling, the lack of in-person schooling would have immediately rendered their visas ineligible, prohibiting them from remaining in the US. The policy would have also prevented foreign students from entering the US for college.

In an effort to retain international students, universities were faced with conflicts over whether or not to reopen schools during the rising pandemic. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard immediately filed lawsuits against the federal government, demanding for reversal. Before the court hearing, a decision was reached between the universities and ICE to allow for greater student visa flexibility, rescinding the previous policy.

This new decision has been praised by universities, who hold their international students’ right to education highly. Additionally, many would have suffered large financial losses otherwise.

Large corporations were similar in their support.

According to the New York Times, international students contribute $41 billion to the economy annually and support more than 458,000 jobs. The policy would have made a serious impact on the national economy; for many businesses, these students play a vital role in economic development and the future of the country.

International students were also relieved at the decision. Previously, many were scrambling to find ways to stay in the country after the policy was announced on July 6.

Upon being forced to return to their home countries, time zone differences and internet restrictions may have prevented international students from accessing online courses. However, with the new decision, these students are able to safely remain in the US for their education.



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