The University of Washington has released a statement against the decision of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that forces international students on The Student and Exchange Visitor Program to depart the United States if their school is switching to online-only classes this fall.
“Taking away that flexibility is cruel and completely oblivious to the reality of the pandemic in this country, which, unlike the outbreaks that many of our allies have tamped down, continues to surge,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce in an online statement. “And at a time when America’s global leadership is under severe strain, during a crisis demanding a spirit of international unity and cooperation, this proposal isn’t just cruel, it’s counterproductive.”
According to the university, staff will be working with the state’s congressional delegation, other key federal officials, and higher-education associations to try and change the proposal so that it does not harm international students. They are hoping to implement changes that would allow international students to stay in the US if they are taking at least one in-person course.
“We also must prepare for the eventuality that this action will stand and plan for how the UW can assist our international students… This federal rule change would also mean that if the virus resurges in Washington and we have to return to remote-only instruction, or if case counts aren’t reduced enough to let us go to Phase 3 in this region in time for autumn quarter, then international students could have their lives upended for no reason.”
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“The University of Washington stands with our international students and scholars, and against this and other recent immigration-related actions that are pointless, heartless and a betrayal of the nation’s values.”