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Visa Changes Leave International Students in Limbo

onathon Henderson, International Festival

Wright State International Festival | Jonathon Henderson |The Wright State Guardian

The Trump administration has rescinded the policy that would have prevented international students only taking online courses from staying in the US, a federal judge announced Tuesday.

The administration was sued over the policy by Harvard and MIT, according to the Associated Press.

International students enrolled fully in online courses may not be able to stay in the U.S. according to new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidelines.

New guidelines

The new guidelines state that international students may not remain in the United States if they are taking their course load entirely online.

This directive affects non immigrant students on the M1 or F1 visas attending schools that will be operating entirely online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” according to the guidelines.

This affects nearly 1 million international students in the United States and 597 students at Wright State, as of 2019.

WSU international students

The order that came down on Monday came with no consultation with higher education institutions, according to Wright State President Susan Edwards.

“It also comes at a time when the United States has been setting daily records for the number of new COVID-19 cases, with more than 300,000 new cases reported since July 1,” said Edwards in a letter to the community Thursday. “I can only assume that the order was designed to pressure institutions to resume “normal” face-to-face operations without regard to the concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others.”

Edwards continued, addressing the issues that this directive poses to Wright State saying that they have several working groups looking at the issue, including national and state organizations.

“Wright State is very concerned and opposed to the decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding limitations for international student enrollment in fall 2020,” said Edwards. “Please know that Wright State cares deeply about the impact of this announcement on our international students. International students are a key part of our community, and we are here to support them through this time of uncertainty.”

WSU will hold a Q&A session over WebEx on July 13 from 3 to 4 p.m.

Makenzie Hoeferlin