“SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” President Donald Trump wrote in a Twitter post. Educators have struggled with decisions over opening schools considering the risk of infection to students and faculty. Colleges and universities have announced a number of plans for the fall semester, including changing the calendars and holding some courses online.
The federal immigration authority has announced that foreign students pursuing degrees in America will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only classes this fall semester. This decision is likely to impact hundreds of thousands of Indian students in the US adversely.
According to immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta, the latest one-pager policy announcement means three things: Students enrolled in US universities that are moving to an online-only education model will be barred from getting F-1 visas, they will be stopped from entering the US on F-1 visas and not allowed to maintain F-1 status in the Fall semester. ICE is now turning the screws on universities to re-open despite the coronavirus roaring back across 40 of 50 states. "So Trump is forcing foreign students to study in unsafe conditions during Covid-19", Mehta tweeted.
More than one million of the country's higher education students come from overseas, according to the non-profit Institute of International Education. India sent the largest number of students (251,290) to the US after China (478,732) in 2017 and 2018, according to the latest Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) 'SEVIS by the Numbers Report' 2018.
The number of students from India increased from 2017 to 2018 by 4,157. According to an economic analysis by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students studying at US colleges and universities contributed $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs during the 2018-2019 academic year, the report said.
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