The political nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. took another turn as 17 states came together to fight a new immigration ruling from the Trump Administration. Following a Tweet from President Trump that simply stated in all caps, “SCHOOLS MUST REOPEN IN THE FALL”, the Department of Homeland Security stated international students would not be permitted entry to the U.S. for online-only classes at colleges and universities. The U.S. Government had previously stated international students were allowed to attend online-only classes following the Spring closure of most college campuses.
The continued policy battles over school reopenings come at a time when local school districts and college administrations across the nation discuss how best to go about having learners return to school in the coming months. The concern has been shown by college administrators for months that foreign nationals would be barred from studying in the U.S. in a move that would damage the economy and reputation of schools.Read More »
Among the concerns of the decision made by President Trump and his Administration is the fear that this would be a way to politicize the reopening of academic institutions. The furor of school reopenings has so far fallen largely along party lines with Republicans calling for reopenings and Democrats stating the decision should be left to each state to make.
Although the battle lines may have been drawn by the Attorney General of California last week when the initial guidelines were announced, 17 more states have joined the fight. The majority of these states are located in the western and northern reaches of the nation including Colorado, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia. These are the Attorney Generals who have already joined the lawsuit to fight against the guidelines with more expected to join the lawsuit in the coming days and weeks.
In total, the arrival of international learners in the U.S. adds more than $40 billion to the economy of the nation and provide a lifeline for many institutions who rely on their fees. It had been hoped the policy coming from The White House and the Department of Homeland Security would be closer to those offered in the Spring when academic institutions were allowed to offer online-only courses to those international learners already enrolled.
Major issues had already been anticipated by colleges and universities where the over-riding policy had always been for non-U.S. citizens on a student visa not being permitted to complete online-only courses. The issue facing institutions and their learners was that ICE had already stated this guideline was still its number one priority when it comes the visa violations. The decision by ICE not to accept the policies produced in the Spring for those enrolled in higher learning institutions with the agency claiming each student could switch to a school offering in-person learning opportunities.
As Ivy League institutions, such as Harvard and M.I.T. are switching to online-only classes in the Spring, the chance of attending a school with a similar reputation for their foreign members of the student body is limited. The difficulties of each student are of major concern for each institution along with their ability to maintain their current level of funding for their departments.
The 17 Attorney Generals from across the U.S. have decided to fight the latest guidelines from the Trump Administration in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. The lawsuit calls for a temporary halt to the guidelines while any legal action is taking place and uses the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act is the basis of arguments. This act explains that no law should bring harm to organizations or to those living and working in the U.S. The argument regarding the immigration advice for learners is that both the schools and those hoping to attend from outside the U.S. are being harmed by an illegal decision.
Explore Games and Apps