Reed College international students from the Class of ’21 at Orientation in 2017. The new ICE directive imposes new requirements for student visas and threatens to revoke immigration status for students who cannot take in-person courses.
Reed College international students from the Class of ’21 at Orientation in 2017. The new ICE directive imposes new requirements for student visas and threatens to revoke immigration status for students who cannot take in-person courses.
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ICE Directive Threatens International Students

President Bilger condemns the new ICE rule and directs Reed to help international students meet the extra requirements.

By Chris Lydgate ’90 | July 8, 2020

UPDATE (July 14) According to several news reports, in a sudden reversal the Trump administration has walked back the ICE rule that would have stripped international students of their visa status if their courses were forced to go online.

Original Story:

Reed College President Audrey Bilger today condemned the surprise announcement by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) threatening to strip international students of their visa status. She immediately directed the college to help students meet the new federal requirements. [[UPDATE 7/9/20: Reed is also joining a “friend of the court” brief against the directive.]] 

The ICE directive would end legal status for international students unless at least some of their courses are in-person. International students who don’t meet the requirements would not be allowed to enter the US. Those currently in the US would have to leave.

“ICE’s decision to revoke student visas based on the availability of in-person classes serves no practical purpose and could put people needlessly at risk,” said President Bilger. “Reed is defined by our community. We will care for all our community members, especially those being singled out by this cruel measure. Reed has prioritized access to housing for international students, and we will seek to ensure they can meet the course requirements to satisfy this new rule.”

The ICE directive has drawn sharp criticism from leaders in higher education. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have both filed a suit to prevent the government from enforcing the order. Reed has joined an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief in support of Harvard and MIT and other colleges are expected to follow suit. Some observers have interpreted the rule as an effort by the Trump administration to pressure colleges and universities into offering in-person courses.

Fortunately, Reed is planning to offer a mix of in-person and online courses in Fall 2020, which should mitigate the directive’s impact on Reed students. In addition, Reed’s office of International Student Services and its program director, Gwen Sandford, are working hard to support new and returning international students. In particular, Reed plans to:

  • Give international students priority for on-campus housing and allow them to remain on campus through Thanksgiving and into 2021.
  • Work with international students to register for at least one course with in-person instruction, so that they can meet the new federal requirement.
  • Update I-20 forms for new and returning international students by August 4.
  • Work with students who cannot travel to Portland in Fall 2020 to postpone their I-20 start dates.

See more details on the ISS Covid-19 page. 

 

Tags: Campus Life, Covid-19, Diversity/Inclusion, Institutional, International