BREAKING: ICE Rescinds International Student Rule Requiring In-Person Classes

File Photo: A gavel, and a balance placed upon on open book.

Just one week after ICE announced they would require international students to attend in-person classes in order to remain in the country, the Trump administration has rescinded the controversial rule. In their earlier announcement, ICE had said that students on F-1 or M-1 visas would be required to leave the United States if they enrolled for courses held entirely online. Students attending universities holding courses entirely online in the fall would be forced to depart the country or transfer to a different school. This despite the fact that the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to rise, and that the CDC considers in-person college classes to significantly heighten the risk of coronavirus spread.

ICE’s announced rule was met with swift backlash from immigration rights activists as well as the nation’s colleges and universities. Within a day of the announcement, Harvard and MIT filed the first of eight lawsuits against ICE challenging the rule; others to sue ICE over the rule include John Hopkins University, the University of California, and 17 states as well as the District of Columbia. Over two hundred students, schools, local governments, and organizations also came together to file 13 amicus briefs in the Harvard and MIT lawsuit — all in support of Harvard’s and MIT’s position.

Continue reading “BREAKING: ICE Rescinds International Student Rule Requiring In-Person Classes”

ICE Says International Students Can’t Remain in US if Attending Classes Remotely

Recent spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases are threatening America’s reopening efforts, and suggest that some form of quarantine will persist through to the end of the year. In response to this possibility, many of America’s college and universities are announcing that some or all of their fall semester classes will be held remotely; other schools are still in the process of deciding how classes will be offered in the fall.

Either way, public health data are clear about one thing: we are still in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed over 130,000 American lives to date. College classes — wherein students spend an hour or more, indoors, crowded into tight quarters, and breathing recirculated air — can only exacerbate coronavirus spread on college campuses. While many instructors are still figuring out how to adapt their classes for remote learning (to varying degrees of success), one thing is irrefutable: online classes reduce the risk of coronavirus spread compared to in-person classes. Thus, it makes sense for schools to hold many of their fall classes — especially large lecture classes — remotely: this is the only solution that maximizes the safety of students.

And yet, in an announcement that is completely out of step from these discussions, ICE said today that international students on F-1 or M-1 visas will not be permitted to remain in the United States if they are taking all their classes online. Students attending schools holding some in-person classes will be permitted to take some (but not all) of their classes remotely, as long as the school certifies that they are taking the minimum number of classes online as would still allow them to progress to their degree. Students enrolled in schools that are offering all classes online would be required to transfer schools to avoid deportation.

Students who violate this policy will face consequences, including the possibility of deportation. In other words, this fall, ICE will require international students to take at least one in-person class – even at the risk of their own health – in order to remain in the country. Schools weighing how they will adapt coursework offerings for the fall will be incentivized to adopt a hybrid in-person/online model (or a fully in-person model) to protect international students, a decision that will risk not only the health of all students but also instructors and other campus staff.

Continue reading “ICE Says International Students Can’t Remain in US if Attending Classes Remotely”

Trump Signs Sweeping Executive Order To Suspend Non-Permanent Work Visas

President Donald Trump

The White House announced today that President Trump has signed an Executive Order that would suspend the issuing of several classes of work visas for non-permanent visitors to the United States.

The visa classes targeted for suspension will include: H1-B (highly-skilled workers), H2-B visa (low-skilled workers), J-1 (highly-skilled students, trainees, and teachers), L (intracompany transfers) and H4 (spouses of H1-B holders). The issuance of new visas in these classes will be suspended until December 31, 2020. Trump had previously ordered a temporary halt to new green cards for 60 days beginning in April, but had not previously targeted temporary work visas.

The White House claimed that the move is intended to preserve American jobs in the wake of high unemployment rates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Trump administration attacks on legal immigration pre-date the COVID-19 outbreak, and he campaigned on a platform of xenophobia and nativism. Thus, the White House appears to be seizing the Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to advance hardline anti-immigrant policies.

Continue reading “Trump Signs Sweeping Executive Order To Suspend Non-Permanent Work Visas”

One Year Later, Women of Color Still Pushing Back Against Kavanaugh

Protesters hold signs opposing Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States in New York on July 10, 2018. (Photo credit: AP / Seth Wenig)

By Guest Contributor: Sung Yeon Choimorrow (Executive Director, NAPAWF)

One year after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, women of color, our families, and our communities are still under attack. This time last year, more than 100 women and people of color from all over the country traveled to Washington, DC to voice our strong opposition to Kavanaugh at the first-ever Reproductive Justice Day of Action. We showed our collective power in the halls of Congress to fight Kavanaugh’s nomination because we knew it would exacerbate the decades-long degradation of our rights and disregard for our lives, our families, and communities.

Continue reading “One Year Later, Women of Color Still Pushing Back Against Kavanaugh”

My journey as an undocumented immigrant

I’m on the right making the grumpy face. I was five, on a family road trip with my cousins around the island of Taiwan. (Photo credit: Yin Yin Chan)

By Guest Contributor: Yin Yin Chan (@yinychan)

My daughter, Mia, has another year in preschool, and her father and I are assessing our best options for her educational future. The original plan was to raise her in Taiwan before she reached kindergarten age when we would move back to America for grade school. Although I was born in British Hong Kong, Taiwan is my mother’s native country and where I had lived from ages two to seven.

We had hoped for Mia to develop an understanding of her family’s background by directly immersing her in our ancestral language and culture. But after two years in Taipei, we shortened our plans and created new roots in Los Angeles when Mia turned three. As it turned out, adapting to the Taiwanese culture, climate and language was just too challenging for us as Asian-Americans.

We chose Los Angeles for its vastly diverse spread of people and neighborhoods with access to top schools, museums, and cultural centers. The resources the city offer falls inline with our aspirations of providing Mia with the best education we can afford.

Being an American-born citizen with Asian-American parents, Mia moved back to the US with relative ease. This was in great contrast with my own experience moving from Taiwan to America; I was seven years old when my parents and I came to the US as undocumented immigrants, a status that would shape the rest of my life.

Continue reading “My journey as an undocumented immigrant”