The United States is forcing international students to leave the country whose universities will switch to an online-only model of classes for the fall 2020 semester at the behest of a global pandemic. This was announced on July 6, 2020, according to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
The announcement read, “students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States”. The State would also not issue visas to students enrolled in such courses and the students who are already enrolled in such courses/programs are forced to either leave the country or transfer themselves to other courses where classes are conducted in-person.
Any international student who fails to comply with such impositions would receive stringent “immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings”. The universities following a hybrid model that is, in-person and online classes together, would be exempted from this harsh policy.
The decision can dash the hope of international students in the States who dreamt of pursuing higher studies in such premium universities. Universities throughout the US including Harvard and MIT are looking to opt for a completely online mode of classes considering the public safety issues for the following semester. In that scenario, the foreign students would be left with no choice but to leave the country. According to Forbes, The Department of Homeland Security “plans to publish a new regulation on the policy as a temporary final rule, allowing it to take effect immediately”.
In a recent update on Wednesday, Havard and MIT challenged this Trump Administration policy in court which could affect more than 1 million students. The lawsuit demands the law to block the government order as it violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the regulation puts the universities in an “untenable situation”. The Act requires the federal agencies to issue regulations after publishing notices for the proposed directive and allowing public feedback on the proposal.
“It appears that it (the order) was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to the health and safety of students”, Harvard University President Larry Bascow.