As reported on Monday, July 6 (via NPR):
Foreign students attending U.S. colleges that will operate entirely online this fall semester cannot remain in the country to do so, according to new regulations released Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Aside from following the Trump administration standard MO of "unnecessarily cruel," this was also a targeted blow at "liberal" institutions that rely heavily on tuition fees from foreign students to subsidize other educational costs. Which is part of the reason that schools like Harvard and MIT are suing over the move. Also from NPR:
According to Harvard and MIT, the policy would effectively strand hundreds of thousands of international students studying in the U.S. and muddy plans for a return to class amid the coronavirus pandemic. They say the move "reflects an effort by the federal government to force universities to reopen in-person classes," regardless of what's best for community safety.
"The effect — and perhaps even the goal — is to create as much chaos for universities and international students as possible," the universities said.
I used to edit and ghostwrite fundraising letters for MIT. While I could complain at length from my first-hand experience about the financial functionality of colleges in general, I think that MIT has a pretty good system worked out within that system. A large part of that has to do with the income from foreign students, which helps to offset costs for lower income domestic students who rely on merit-based scholarships. This move is just an attempt to weaponize ICE and fuel Trump's anti-immigration base in order to further harm colleges that conservatives blame for indoctrinating the youth with the bare minimum ideals of Enlightenment Liberalism.
It's also just plain cruel, though I suppose that's the point. The logistical oversights — like where and how those international students are going to travel during a pandemic — is likely deliberate as well, in an administration that feeds on chaos energy like some Lovecraftian beast.
Image: Lucy Li / Wikimedia Commons