Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still affecting everyone in the United States as the numbers continue to skyrocket. Approximately three million cases have been reported in the United States as of Thursday, July 9. Uncertainty is spread in the air as educators, legislators, business owners, and community members have to make plans for the upcoming fall as no one is aware when the coronavirus is going to end or at least get better.
On Monday, July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced plans for international students for the upcoming fall. Under the proposed plan, international students would have to return to their homes if their university decides to move their classes remotely or they would have to transfer to a college that will have in-person classes. ICE specifically stated that "students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States."
This rule surprised universities, colleges, and students as they are faced with the decision of moving back home, which some people can't.
It is not fair for ICE to try to force international students to move back home during a pandemic. After all, they should be worried about the safety of the students and not the status of their citizenship. It was difficult for students last semester from transitioning to in-person classes to having classes remotely. A student can not become an online learner overnight, yet ICE is not keeping into consideration how challenging it will be for international students to do classwork at home. They will not have the same resources on campus if they were home, such as office hours, tutoring sessions, etc.
Universities such as Princeton and Harvard were two of the few universities that expressed their concerns about ICE's decision. They planned to have students move onto campus as they will be having classes move online. These two colleges, among others, decided that social distancing can be implemented in dorms while having classes online would be more ideal for both students and professors. It would limit the risk of spreading the virus from person to person.
Harvard and MIT decided to sue the Trump administration over their decision that limits international students' privilege of staying on campus in the upcoming fall. The lawsuit was Trump administration for trying to take away visas from international students. These universities were furious because ICE decided out of nowhere to announce this plan. It is July and school is supposed to start next month, yet ICE decided to drop this news without giving colleges or universities a heads up. The lawsuit said, "ICE threw Harvard and MIT — indeed, virtually all of higher education in the United States".
ICE's plan to strip away their visas leave many universities in colleges in a dilemma. They have to debate if they want to continue online classes while risking the chance that they will lose all of their international students or decided to have in-person classes as it may risk the student's and educators' health. The United States is trying to decrease the number od coronavirus cases not to add it, yet ICE may be risking the health of everyone. They rather let people risk catching corona, instead of trying to contain it.
It does not only hurt international students, but it also hurts the financial aspect of these universities and colleges. They depend on international students enrolling in their schools and without them, they will lose out on money. They already lost money from last semester because of the pandemic, so if international students are forced to move back homes many universities will suffer financially.
According to NAFSA, "international students contributed nearly $41 billion to our economy last year." Not only will universities suffer a financial shock, but America's economy will also suffer because we depend on international students. They contribute many job opportunities for America, which helps our economy increase.
Trump is willing to let our economy continue to get thrown in the gutters, while he sits on his butt all day. The pandemic already put our economy into a shock as many Americans lost their job as the job rate decreased. Then, if international students are forced to leave, then our economy will suffer more as they are what helps make America great. They helped put America on the map because if it wasn't for them there would be no America.
After receiving many lawsuits from many universities, Trump decided to drop his restrictions for international students to do online classes only. Many students and professors expressed their frustrations to ICE and the White House because it is unfair to limit their learning capability. Why should a visa stop a student from receiving an education just like any other American? The answer to this question is a privilege, as Americans have the privilege to be able to receive an education without worrying about getting sent home. Attention and focus need to be aimed towards foreign students as they have the same right that Americans have to receive an education.