The Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the US Government had urged via the directive dated July 6, 2020, all the International Students who hold F-1 visas who are attending only online classes in the US educational institutions to leave the country during such testing times of health pandemic.
The authority has given an ultimatum to the foreign students to either leave the country or take measures like transferring themselves to school with in-person instruction or else face deportation in the event of their universities switching to online classes in the fall semester.
In addition, the July 6 directive also bars the entry and re-entry of the students from their hometowns back in the US. In reaction to this move, the Harvard University President Larry Bacow has expressed anguish over the said guidance and condemning the straight jacket solutions, the Donald Trump Government is in the urge to render.
In response to this directive, the Universities of Harvard and MIT have filed a the lawsuit against the US Government, citing such orders as arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.
This decision brings forth the effort by the government to force the Universities to reopen the colleges in-person. There has no consideration paid to how this directive would further contribute to aggravating the health crisis.
Furthermore, the students technically don’t have another viable option to accommodate themselves in the US than to reside in the tightly packed halls of residence. US Senator Elizabeth Warren has addressed this guidance to be xenophobic. The plaint addresses this step to be not only impossible and impracticable but also dangerous.
The directive is likely to affect thousands of Indian students in the US. The State Department has outrightly denied the issuance of visas to such students who have been enrolled in online classes.
India has sent the largest number of students (251,290) to the US, according to the latest Student Exchange Visitor Program ‘ SEVIS by the Numbers Report’ 2018. This guidance is certain to anxiety to the international students especially Indians who are studying in the country or those who are preparing to carry further their studies there.
Earlier on June 22, the US Government withheld the legal immigration in its country until December 31. Of all the persons holding L-1, H-1B, H-2B and J-1 visas.
(This news has been written and submitted by Ms. Aarushi Kapoor during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Ms. Aarushi is a third year law-student at Hidayatullah National Law University, Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh.)