ICE reverses policy after telling foreign students attending US schools online to go home (UPDATED)

  • ICE announced that university students taking a fully online course load in the fall must return to their home countries.
  • This announcement comes after many prominent universities issued hybrid or mostly-online learning models for the fall semester.

UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security has reversed it decision to force international students studying in the U.S. to return home.

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“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."   

Original story below: 

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced Monday that college students taking a fully online course load during the fall 2020 semester must return to their home countries.

“The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States,”  a press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated.

[RELATED: Fall reopenings a mixed bag for campuses]

“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,” ICE added.

Students attending schools with “normal in-person classes” will not be affected, and students attending schools operating under a hybrid model will be permitted to take more than one class online. However, students who do not comply with the new requirements may face removal from the United States. 

[RELATED: Professors, teachers do NOT want to go back to work this fall]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government had previously issued temporary exemptions to nonimmigrant foreign students allowing them to take more online courses than usually permitted. 

The recent announcement comes after prominent institutions — including Harvard University  — announced that they will not be inviting most students back to campus in the fall. Many universities are adopting hybrid models while others are returning to fully online instruction.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft



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Ben Zeisloft
Benjamin Zeisloft | Pennsylvania Senior Campus Correspondent

Benjamin Zeisloft is a Pennsylvania Senior Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform. He is studying Finance and Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Benjamin also writes for The UPenn Statesman and the Wharton International Business Review.

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