Dems Seek Flexibility for New International Students

August 14, 2020

Seventy-five Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf calling on him to revise guidance that would bar international students who are taking online courses from entering the U.S. this fall. The Trump administration rescinded a policy that would have prohibited continuing international students from taking an online-only course load after facing multiple lawsuits, but the administration then said new students cannot come to the U.S. if their course loads this fall will be entirely online.

The letter argues that the department "should not be creating disparate treatment between new and existing students" and requests that all international students, new or returning, who are pursuing a full course of study at a U.S. institution be allowed to enter the country, regardless of their mode of instruction.

"With respect to newly enrolled international students, DHS should recognize that colleges and universities are exploring a variety of instruction models, including hybrid in-person and remote instruction as well as innovative attendance schedules, to best serve students' health and education needs simultaneously," the letter states. "Implementing a blanket, one-size-fits-all policy in which all new international students are banned from entering the United States shuts off avenues of instruction unnecessarily."

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