Local international student reacts to ICE announcement about college classes in the fall

New rule would forbid international students from taking online-only coursework
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:21 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - International students in Cenla are reacting to a controversial announcement made Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that international students can’t stay in the U.S. if all of their college classes are online this fall.

In the announcement, ICE said students taking hybrid coursework - a combination of in-person and online classes - will be allowed to stay, but students whose classes have moved completely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic would no longer legally be allowed to stay in the country or return to the U.S. from their home countries to resume studies this fall. ICE suggested that students without a hybrid option should transfer to a new university. The new conditions would also apply to students whose course-loads change mid-semester, which may include colleges who are forced to shut down face to face classes because of possible COVID-19 outbreaks. Right now LSUA plans to offer hybrid coursework this fall. One LSUA student from England says she doesn’t expect to be personally affected, but that the announcement still comes as a disappointment to her.

“I just think it’s really disappointing that there is still kind of such, almost like a prejudice against international students in the way that we’re still treated a little bit differently than American students. We work the same, we do everything the same. It’s just kind of disappointing thinking that I’ve also stayed here the whole summer and it kind of would be for no reason if I have to go home, but at LSUA I know I’m in really good hands because I’m surrounded by people who are so caring and I know they’re going to do whatever to help us,” says chemistry major Nianh Packer.

Packer says many of LSUA’s approximately 40 international students are already facing a challenge just trying to get back to campus. Many are stranded in other countries after traveling home to visit family this summer, due to the many travel restrictions in place right now. On Wednesday Harvard and MIT announced they are suing the Trump administration over the rule.

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