On July 6th, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) released modifications to temporary exemptions for international students under F-1 and M-1 Visas. Specifically, under the direction of the Trump Administration, ICE is suspending residency rights for international students for students that are operating entirely online, and states that “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.” ICE further directs international students currently enrolled in such programs to ‘depart the country’ or transfer to a school with in-person instruction in order to remain in the country legally.
While CU Boulder is currently planning on adopting a hybrid model under the current pathway to Fall 2020 guidelines, ICE mandates that schools that switch from a hybrid to online only model partway through the semester are required to update their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, and that international students with F-1 or M-1 visas will then be required to depart the country, unless they obtain a medical exemption or alter their course load or transfer to another institution.
International students at the undergraduate and graduate levels have faced systemic barriers to obtaining research funding, securing employment at the university, and securing housing in Boulder. As COVID continues to spread in the United States and uncertainty around the University’s pathway for Fall 2020 continues to increase, we at UGGS stand with international students as they face disproportionate threats to their academic and professional paths forward. We also recognize these new rulings for what they are the byproduct of structural racism and xenophobia, and the failure of the federal government to rise to the challenge of combating COVID and preserving the health and safety of residents within its borders.
As a call to action, we ask that you contact your members of Congress and make clear that CU Buffs stand with each other, and international students are a critical element of that community. You can view their contact information here.
If you are an international student and have questions about how this change impacts you, please reach out to International Student and Scholar Services.