On Tuesday afternoon, the Trump administration rescinded a policy that would have taken away visas for international students whose classes have moved completely to onlineas a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This reversal by the federal government has canceled plans by the United States’ Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency to deport international students who take only online courses.
Last week, prior to the reversal announced on Tuesday, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology had sued the federal government over the policy to deport international students. Other institutions had joined their lawsuit, which no doubt influenced the reversal.
While many international students have expressed relief this week, they also feel vulnerable knowing that their status at a university is not really in their hands — and is always in jeopardy.
“You honestly can’t do anything but wait. I’m stressing to find somewhere to lease and waiting to sign up for classes, just to be unsure of what my future holds at this university,” said Andrew Patterson, a senior at Florida A&M University from the Bahamas. He is one of several hundred international students enrolled at FAMU.
Many schools across the nation have accused the Trump administration of not considering the many issues and challenges that international students are facing during the pandemic. Adding higher education to that list was wrong, they said.
In the midst of all this turmoil many students at Florida A&M, hope that the university will continue to have their back during these unpredictable times, Talitha Cartwright, a senior biology pre-med major from the Bahamas has sought alternatives that will allow her to stay in the United States for her education.
“This situation has shown me how America genuinely doesn’t care about their migrants unless it benefits them. However, this has shown me how much my university cared for me. Thanks to Dr. Latinwo and the biology department, I am able to stay here regardless and I am so thankful,” Cartwright said.
Non-international students at FAMU have said that ICE and the Trump administration should not be focused on international students. It is not and should not be a top priority, they said.
“Many international students are an imperative part of what makes the university what it is, ICE has more important things to worry about such as immigrant children who have gone missing under their supervision and the living conditions of these immigrants,” said Danae Pickard, a social work student at Florida A&M.