ICE plans to deport immigrants on student visas if their schools convert to online classes

This is a terrible decision in so many ways it’s a little ridiculous. Obviously it’s needlessly anti immigrant and specifically against immigrants who are here learning a variety of skills they can use to help make this country better, while being in the country building connections and relationships to help them stay afterwards. And obviously it creates an insanely stupid perverse incentive for colleges to open up in the middle of a pandemic. Not to mention doing something that is actively bad for the economy in the middle of a downturn, among countless other reasons this decision is colossally stupid.

Only 8% of schools are planning fully-online classes.

I suspect that the announcement is two-fold:

  1. Confuse students so that they will think that online classes mean immigration violations. They don’t know the language and laws, so some will get scared and leave.

  2. Discourage immigrants and international students from coming to the US. Same drumbeat gets the message across to international students: America’s no place for foreigners.

So pointless, so short-sighted. Yet another own-goal.

And it will take millions, if not billions, of dollars out of the economy.
Those students will just shift to other countries, I’d expect.
Could easy cause financial crisis to a lot of educational institutions.

Such a bad idea, all around, IMHO.

However, if their specific program or schedule is made up of only fully online courses they fall into this ruling. The whole university doesn’t have to be online.

It’s a horrible decision to continue to enforce this rule under the present circumstances, not only for the students but for the universities who will lose a whole lot of tuition money when they’re already struggling.

Exactly. Lose-lose. Nobody gains a thing.

The president gains a few more racist voters.

Unfortunately another aspect of this is that an international student going to a school with a hybrid of online / in person wouldn’t be able to have a fully online courseload, so it will directly impact more than just those at the 8% of schools.

Americans don’t want to go to grad school in tech fields because they can find a much better job at higher pay. And schools are OK with this since they get cheap labor from grad students for labs and lower level classes. If all the foreign students leave they will have to find replacements somehow. A while back I had a senior do a chemistry lab because they were out of grad students to teach.

Tech fields grad schools are up to 80% foreign students.

Could someone explain why a fully online class load disqualifies a foreign student from staying in the country?

…because ICE says so.

Maybe it’s because of the ‘universities breed liberalism’ boogeyman?

The result will likely be much higher costs for domestic students to shore up the losses this will cause.

Does fewer college grads favour the Republicans? Or, maybe it will help ensure there are workers for those factory jobs they’re bringing back any day now?

More than anything, this throws an extra level of uncertainty into a situation that is so uncertain that planning is nearly impossible.

For example, a lot of schools are going to a plan where about half the students are on campus–Freshmen for sure, seniors in spring. This allows for single occupancy in dorms and more social distancing in general. Then, classes are mostly on line, but the students on campus still have access to resources, labs, professors, etc. It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good compromise. Lots of schools were polishing these plans right now.

And then this happens. So now you’ve got to find a way to get all the kinds on visas within that 50% occupancy. So, if for example you had all the sophomores staying home, that doesn’t work anymore. You have to re-jigger all the criteria. And if you have to make sure you in person/on-line hybrid is enough: is one lab class enough to allow a kid to stay? One discussion section?

It’s also not really true that if it’s on line, you might as well go home. Live lectures and tests are a thing, so the time zones will be hell. Organic chemistry at 2:00 in the morning? And lots of students don’t have ready access to sufficient broadband at home. Chinese students may not be able to access Gsuite products, which is what universities live on. There may be other firewall issues.

This is just an dick move.

It does two things from the administration’s point of view:

From Trump’s personal vantage point, it’s another way of denying the existence of the pandemic. It’s more “Let’s just play along” - similar to the reason that more and more federal workers are being pressured into coming back to work across the country.

But this also has Stephen Miller’s fingerprints on it. For him, this is yet another way to undermine immigration of any kind.

And yes, it plays to the racists who support Trump. But not every professor in the ivory tower is a liberal democrat, and many are older and having underlying conditions. Trump is putting them at risk. “Friendly fire,” you might say.

Now international students are going to be frightened to take online classes in any form. They’ll wonder if having even one remote class might screw them immigration-wise. Even if the rule is clearly spelled out, there will be lots of confusion because people won’t know what to believe. This, I think, is the ultimate goal. Find ways to get immigrants (int’l students) to self-deport, if you will. Discourage more immigrants (international students in this case) from coming in.

I don’t think they will be worried about that. I do think they will worry that if schools start in-person and then close, they will have to go home, mid-pandemic, having already committed to a lease or dorm.

after 9/11 there was a proposal to make it much harder to get student visas. Schools screamed bloody murder and that was dropped. They will likely scream again but Trump probably won’t care.

I work at a small liberal arts college that has about a 10% foreign student enrollment. That doesn’t sound like much but we are already on a knife edge fiscally - shutting down in spring cost us a lot of money and we’re already expecting a depressed enrollment this fall. This could shut us down for good if we lose that 10%.

One thing I haven’t noticed in this thread is that the ruling also means that if a second wave of the pandemic forces us to shut down mid-term as we did last spring then the foreign students have to leave the US within ten days. Who will want to come if they can be suddenly sent home before completing their course of study?

Since there’s been speculation that this was done to pressure colleges into reopening, do you know if your school is going to reopen given the pressure they’re under?

It’s a homeland security thing. The idea is that students get a visa to take courses, come to the US, sign up online, and leave the area to engage in spying or terrorism etc. Even when my students were at home writing their thesis, I had to assert that I physically saw them once a week.

Fully online is considered a security risk. That’s fine, I suppose, under normal circumstances. But now students have come and their programs have shifted out from under them, and they’re screwed. And institutions are de-incentivized to making a public health decision to go online because students will be harmed and they’ll lose money.