ICE Regulation From The Perpective Of An International Student
New ICE policy has created chaos in the education system and in lives of international students
Hello everyone. My name is Zarina and I am an international student.
"You graduated, so why do you care?" Great question, but an obvious one. Although the new ICE policy hasn't yet said to be affecting students on their OPT (optional practical training that comes after graduating), but as someone who has spent the past year tirelessly working to make lives of international students easier, I can't stay silent.
Let's first understand what the new ICE policy tells us to do. Students on their F-1 visas cannot be inside the US and study all online classes. Seems pretty simple, right? Let me tell you right here, it is not. Here a short list in what ways this is problematic. You may already know some of them, but just bear with me here.
1. Forcing students out of country when their home countries have closed their borders/number of cases is rapidly increasing.
Yes, we could say that the embassies of those countries are going to work to allow those students to be able to enter their countries. But you know what? This is so unsafe right now considering that in some countries like Australia, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Botswana, Montenegro, etc, cases of the coronavirus have been rapidly rising for the last couple of days. This law enforces students to immideately go back to their countries, risking their physical and mental health to travel there. Again, they are legal aliens who pay to be able to live and study in the US. (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html)
2. Think about students with on-campus jobs
International students can only make money by working on-campus. Not even talking about how hard it is sometimes to get an on-campus job, imagine losing it in an instant because of a stupid law! On-campus jobs are one of the only ways to get real experience for students. If they are deported from the country, they might lose their jobs since most employers won't want to deal with 15-hour time difference abruptions.
3. Even if they safely get to their countries, they are likely to drop out due to lack of resources.
Many countries don't have unlimited access to the internet, electricity and the obvious time difference. Students pay for these resources. When their abroad, how are they gonna get that on-campus laptop? Or Wi-Fi? And although waking up at 4am to attend your online class might not be such a hassle, but having presentations, exams, etc. in the middle of the night might not be the greatest things when you have your entire family sleeping and you will wake that baby who won't let you hear anything.
4. Would you pay enourmous amounts of tution money if you are deported?
Well I wouldn't. International students pay 3 times more than citizens. They are not allowed to get any FAFSA and have 1 scholarship per university that will cover less than 10% of their tuition. International students contribute billions of dollars into universities to get the education that their home countries are not able to provide for them.
5. Even if we go back, we have apartment leases, cars, pets, many responsibilities that will cost us money to leave.
My friend has recently signed a 1-year lease for her apartment. Now, to break the contract, she has to pay $2000. Plus, what are we gonna do with cars, insurances we have paid for? You don't just drop these news and expect students to depart in 10 days. This is merely not enough time to pack all our things, end our lease countract, sell our cars and cancel all our insurance plans.
6. Those who are graduating soon might not be able to apply for work authorization if they leave the country.
Our immigration documents are active as long as we are full-time students who take 1 (max) class online. If this policy is going to be enforced, our immigration documents will be terminated. In order to receive this 1-year work authorization, we need to be full-time for 3 quarters with active documents at all times. Some of us want to get that 1-year work experience.
7. Universities are going to lose massive amounts of money
Harvard and MIT have already sued and the reason is the amounts of money they will be losing if international students would transfer schools or drop out. They understand it and don't want to let that happen.
8. There is a lot of confusion on what an in-class course means.
Most colleges are switching to online or offer very limited amounts of in-person classes. Would a capstone project be considered as an in-person class? 50% hybrid? Class meets one time and then it is all remote? In-class courses are extremely rare and most of them are out of the most people's majors. Anthropology, american history, intro to chem, etc. As a business student, none of these are in my program and I wouldn't get credit for them. So if I was to ensure that I will be able to work on-campus, I would have to pay for class that was completely unrelated to my major and pay $3,000 just for that?