HOW TO OPPOSE NEW ICE POLICY ON INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

UPDATE: On Tuesday, July 14, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded a July 6 policy directive that would have required international students to take at least some in-person coursework in order to remain in the U.S.  The government agreed to rescind the guidance in response to a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The rescission of the July 6 directive, and an associated FAQ released July 7, means that the government reverts to guidance issued in March that allows international students to remain in the U.S. while taking a fully online course load.

On Monday, July 6, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that international (F1) students whose colleges are offering courses exclusively online due to the pandemic would be stripped of their U.S. visas. The Trump administration measure was seen as an effort to both push schools to reopen and to expel immigrants. In response, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the CSUs and the state’s community colleges, challenging the new policy, and numerous other universities and states, including Harvard, MIT and Massachusetts, have also filed similar suits.  The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), with three other national unions, has filed an amicus brief in support of the Harvard suit.

CSM ESL faculty have written and submitted a Resolution Condeming the New ICE/SEVP Policy to AFT 1493, which the Executive Committee is currently in the process of voting on electronically.

 


What can you do?

Faculty are encouraged to help advocate against this new policy by calling their Congresspeople and signing a petition opposing the measure. Phone instructions and scripts and links to petitions are below:

Call your representative:

  • Jackie Speier: San Mateo: (650) 342-0300; Washington, DC: (202) 225-3531
  • Anna Eshoo: Palo Alto: (650) 323-2984 or (408) 245-2339 or (831) 335-2020; Washington, DC: (202) 225-8104
  • Nancy Pelosi: San Francisco: phone: (415) 556-4862  Washington, D.C.: (202) 225-4965
  • Find another representative

Call your senator:

  • Kamala Harris: Washington, DC: 202-224-3553,  San Francisco: 415-981-9369
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): Washington, DC: 202-224-3841,  San Francisco: 415-393-0707

Scripts:

Please modify to suit your context and specific concerns.

For the answering machine:

My name is _____________ and I live in _____________ (The Zip code is most important). I work at _________________ and I am calling to express my alarm about Immigration and  Customs Enforcement’s July 6th announcement of modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Specifically, ICE will not allow students taking courses entirely online to remain in the United States or to receive F1 visas to come to the United States. If it continues, this policy will force many students currently on F1 Visas to to return to their home countries in order to continue their education. Many do not have stable or safe home situations to return to, and international travel is not a safe or easy option in our current crisis. This policy will upset the plans of students who currently intend to start classes in August, with very little time to adjust. It may force colleges and universities to restart in-person classes under dangerous circumstances. In California, where the whole CSU system and many community colleges, including the San Mateo Community College District and City College of San Francisco, will be primarily online for the Fall semester, this will have devastating effects not only on our students themselves, but also on our communities, faculty jobs, and school budgets.

(If you feel comfortable making an economic argument for this, continue on with – fill in information from NAFSA’s Economic Impact Tool first):

“In addition to myriad foreign policy and academic contributions international students make to American communities, NAFSA’s latest analysis finds that international students studying in California colleges, universities and English language programs contributed more than $6.8 billion dollars and supported more than 74,800 jobs. Congressional District 14 benefits from nearly $141.5 million of this state total.”

I urge Representative _________/ Senator__________ to oppose this xenophobic policy and advocate for a policy that allows students on F1 visas to remain in the U.S. and continue to take classes solely online. I also urge her to support the issuance of F1 visas to students who wish to enroll in online programs.

For a real person:

My name is _____________ and I live in _____________ (The Zip code is most important). I work at __________________, and I am calling to express my alarm about Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s July 6th announcement of modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Specifically, ICE will not allow students taking courses entirely online to remain in the United States or to receive F1 visas to come to the United States.

I urge Representative _________/ Senator__________ to oppose this xenophobic policy and advocate for a policy that allows students on F1 visas to remain in the U.S. and continue to take classes solely online. I also urge her to support the issuance of F1 visas to students who wish to enroll in online programs.

Petitions:

Other resources & information

The SEVP’s untenable statement forcing F1 visa students to leave the U.S. if their university conducts classes remotely in the fall will cause harm to  learners, their programs, and the federal and state economy. According to the National Association of International Educators , “…international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2018-2019 academic year”. In California, international students contributed $6.8 billion and 74,814 jobs to California’s economy in 2018-2019.  In addition, SEVP’s guidelines will hasten the collapse of a once-thriving sector of the economy. According to IIE’s Open Doors Report (2019), “International students make up 5.5 percent of the total U.S. higher education population.” Professors, instructors, administrators, student services personnel, and test administrators will lose their jobs. University departments and private language schools will close.
If the US tells these students, in this time of crisis, that they are not welcome to continue their studies in the US, they will not return to complete their studies in the future, and they will not stay in the US to contribute their talents to the workforce after their education is complete. Their economic and intangible contributions to our nation and state will be lost.
Please urge the SEVP to reverse their course on this decision and instead extend the time by which international students already in the US on F1 visas can continue to make progress in their programs by taking online courses, as had been allowed for the Winter/Spring/Summer terms.

University of Oregon BIPOC Caucus Response to ICE SEVP Temporary Exemptions, based on a statement by Washington University Undergraduate & Graduate Workers Union (WUGWU-SEIU Local 1)