We stand in solidarity with all immigrants and international students in the US, regardless of visa status, including those who are threatened by this week’s decision.
As universities and vocational schools move classes online to reduce in-person interactions in the midst of a pandemic while continuing to educate our students, ICE and the Trump administration see an opportunity to advance their xenophobic and anti-education agenda. In rule modifications announced July 6th, the ICE Student Exchange and Visa Program states that international students enrolled in online-only programs in the fall may not enter the United States, and must leave the United States if they are currently here, or face deportation.
This latest xenophobic act from the Trump administration is designed to advance a racist agenda. Any claims by the Trump administration that the policy serves public health should be dismissed outright – this government has absolutely no legitimacy when it comes to competently navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Deporting international students does nothing to alleviate the pandemic, and directly puts the students at risk. If schools respond to this policy by reopening and holding in-person classes, it will directly undermine efforts to halt the pandemic and will result in excess disease and death within schools and their surrounding communities. As with all things Trump and ICE, the move is a stunning mix of cruelty and idiocy.
Our response must be unequivocal.
We reject this policy in its entirety.
Our universities and institutions must also be unequivocal in rejecting this move. The scientific community must take continuous action in solidarity with the immigrant community. Statements that administrations “understand this may cause anxiety” and are “reviewing this release” are wildly insufficient. We believe that a humane policy on immigration demands that ICE be abolished altogether.
Below we provide an alternative template that may serve as an open letter to ICE with individual and university signatories.
Open letter to ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program RE: rule modification July 6, 2020, “SEVP modifies temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during fall 2020 semester”
Fuck you. No.