Texas — On July 6, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new regulations for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program for the fall 2020 semester. According to the new rule, international students will not be allowed to remain in the United States if their college or university moves to an online-only format for the fall semester. These students will be required to either transfer to a school offering in-person classes, or they will be forced to leave the United States.
Texas College Democrats condemns this decision in the strongest possible manner.
This will force an undue burden on international students who made the brave decision to leave their home countries in pursuit of higher education. These students will not only be displaced from their education environment, but in most cases will still be responsible for the entirety of the cost of tuition, as schools across Texas are not adjusting tuition costs to reflect online-only semesters. This will also deprive international students of the resources they need to succeed. Commonly used services like G-Suite and Blackboard are not available in every country, and synchronous courses that require students to log on at a set time will directly affect those living in different time zones.
Additionally, this decision incentivizes colleges and universities to hold classes in person, despite the increasing public health risks, in order to avoid losing tuition from transferring international students. International students at the largest schools in Texas average about 10% of enrollment, which represents a large chunk of tuition money schools certainly do not want to lose. Schools need to be free from outside influence and financial pressures to make the best and safest decision for their students in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic.
TCD is committed to fighting this decision. We will work with our individual chapters to pressure their schools to provide a safety net for international students at risk of deportation (e.g. one “in person” class that only requires students to check in at the beginning and end of the semester). International students provide great value to our country, and forcing them to leave benefits no one - the cruelty is the point.