Published: July 13, 2020

July 16 Update

While we are relieved that the Trump administration has decided to rescind the ICE directive, announced on July 6th, that would have put hundreds of thousands of international student visas at risk, we deplore the administration’s ongoing efforts to limit meaningful interaction and engagement between the United States and China. These efforts include the cancellation of the China and Hong Kong Fulbright programs and a possible ban on members of the Chinese Communist Party, and their families, from entering the US. Regardless of the Chinese government’s practices - some of which are indeed cause for critique and condemnation - we believe that only through dialogue, engagement, interaction, and connection - particularly at the level of civil society - can the US China relationship remain beneficial to both countries as well as to the rest of the world.

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Original CAS Statement

The Center for Asian Studies condemns the decision of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced July 6, 2020, that international students with F-1 and M-1 visas, “attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” and that international F-1 students cannot take a full online course load even if their university or college is adopting a hybrid remote / in-person model. We view this as a cruel and blatantly discriminatory policy that seeks to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to promote a broader anti-immigration and anti-internationalization political agenda.  At the same time, the policy has the effect of holding international students hostage as part of an effort to compel universities and colleges – for economic and political reasons – to fully open in the 2020-21 academic year. The policy effectively weaponizes the imperative of institutions of higher education to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe during an unprecedented public health crisis.

The new ICE policy is dangerous for many reasons. It endangers the financial well-being of the United States as well as national security interests. It threatens the US position as a world leader in innovation, creativity, free expression and critical inquiry. But its primary danger lies in the message of extreme bad faith that it sends to the global community: that the care, empathy and good will toward others that we have so long cherished as core American values can now be read by the rest of the world as just empty words.

CAS will do whatever it can to support international students at CU Boulder and beyond. Our mission as an interdisciplinary area studies center compels us to speak out against a policy that aims to undermine the values upon which our work proceeds, as well as our ability to realize that mission in any meaningful way.