The Trump administration’s abrupt changes to foreign student visa rules have upsets the plans of more than a million international students currently enrolled in institutions across the United States.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday announced that it would strip the visa of foreign students whose entire courses have moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, with critics calling the move “xenophobic” and part of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy.
The directive by ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program is likely to hit hundreds of thousands of students, particularly from Asian countries, hard, as they will have to leave the US or face deportation.
Many of them might face the prospect of distance learning from the other side of the world, where time zones, unreliable internet connections, and internet bans would make completing their degree programmes difficult – if not impossible.
According to research conducted by ICE, nearly 80 percent of all international students in the US are from Asia, with China and India accounting for nearly half of them.
Students currently enrolled in programmes taught entirely online must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.
Columbia University has announced that classes will begin on September 8, with a three-term schedule and hybrid teaching
Universities in the US were forced to shift classes online in mid-March in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The country is the hardest hit by the pandemic with more than three million confirmed cases and 135,000 deaths.
Source: MCR and News Agencies