July 8, 2020

Dear Presidents' Alliance Member,
In this week’s Member Update:
  • ICE Releases New SEVP Guidance
  • You’re Invited–Rapid Response Briefing on New ICE SEVP Guidance this Friday, July 10 at 2 pm ET. Register below.
  • DACA’s Not Out of the Woods Yet
  • Submit a Comment! There’s Still Time to Submit a Comment on CARES Act Emergency Grants for DACA/Undocumented Students
ICE releases new guidance limiting current flexibility for international students to stay in the US while enrolled in online classes. On Monday, in spite of a rebounding COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance indicating it would issue a regulation in the coming weeks that would expel international students who are only enrolled in online courses for Fall 2020. Under the guidance, international students enrolled in all online classes for the fall would have to switch their classes to ensure a mix of in-person and online classes, or if attending a college that plans to "operate entirely online" would have to switch to another institution using a hybrid model or fully in-person courses, or be subject to deportation. International students seeking to enter the U.S. to attend a college or university that is only operating online for fall 2020 due to COVID-19 would be barred from entering the country. Importantly, as this guidance affects fall 2020 enrollment, the ICE message and FAQs indicates that a Temporary Final Rule is forthcoming, but the guidance is not yet in effect. Problems with the new guidance include:

  • The guidance and policy are completely inflexible and puts international students and institutions in a no-win situation, strong-arming colleges and universities to a strict “one or the other policy” during a time when flexibility and continued adaptability are needed for the health, wellness and safety of all students, staff, faculty and campus community members;
  • Puts domestic students in harm’s way by forcing institutions to make decisions not based on the health and safety of its members and up-to-date public health guidance;
  • Forces international students enrolled in a college here in the U.S. to leave, switch schools, or be deported if the institution rightfully decides to continue with an all online program due to COVID-19 trends in their state;
  • Puts international students at risk if forced to leave and travel amidst a worsening pandemic, raising grave safety concerns;
  • Puts international students in precarious positions if they are unable to identify and timely enroll in a qualifying institution;
  • International students who are forced to return to their home country to continue their programs online will not be eligible to apply for OPT;
  • International students’ studies, educational experiences in the U.S., research, and lives could be severely interrupted, leading to losses in their educational attainment, as well as financial losses, including previously paid tuition, housing deposits, and more;
  • Shows a lack of regard for international students and continues the negative messaging that the United States does not value the international student community and the diversity, innovation, ingenuity, and economic investments they bring to our campuses and communities;
  • The guidance will create a substantial chilling effect on prospective international student enrollment

Please see our statement condemning this policy here .

The Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic also released a comprehensive FAQ on the new guidance, International Students and Remote Learning in Fall 2020: What You Need To Know while FWD.us released a keen look at the human and fiscal impact of the policy here . Stuart Anderson published an overview of the guidance and initial reaction in Trump Speeds Up Plans To Force Foreign Students, Others Out Of U.S. , and MarketWatch's "Trump's visa policy on remote classes puts international students in 'no-win situation," includes compelling perspectives from international students; both include quotes from Miriam Feldblum, our Executive Director. Also see Trump Visa Rules Seen as Way to Pressure Colleges on Reopening (NYT).

Finally, our partners at NAFSA have a hub with their statement and resources: SEVP COVID-19 Guidance for Fall 2020 .

We also invite you to join this Friday’s rapid response briefing on the new guidance, see below and RSVP here .
You’re Invited– You are invited to our Rapid Response Briefing: ICE's SEVP Guidance for International Students and Higher Education , on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 2pm et.

This rapid response briefing will address the new and disturbing July 6th guidance and forthcoming rule by ICE, which includes preventing international students from continuing their study in the U.S. - and being at risk of deportation - if enrolled in all online courses or attending institutions that continue with all on-line classes for Fall 2020. Speakers will explain what we know and don't know about the new guidance, share crucial campus and student perspectives, and discuss potential litigation and advocacy opportunities. Resources will be provided.

Speakers include :
-Steve Yale-Loehr, Professor of Immigration Law Practice, Cornell Law School
-Ishan Bhabha, Partner, Jenner & Block
-Massume Assaf, Director of International Student and Scholar Services, Penn State University
-Linda Gentile, Director of International Education, Carnegie Mellon University
-Fang Zhang, Vice President, National Association of Graduate-Professional Students
-Jose Magaña-Salgado, Director of Policy and Communications, Presidents' Alliance

RSVP here or click the button or graphic above.
DACA’s Not Out of the Woods Yet. The Supreme Court decision protecting DACA–for now–was welcome news to students and campuses. What Happens Next for DACA? by InsideHigherEd provides a comprehensive overview of some of the potential next steps for DACA after the Supreme Court decision, including ongoing possibilities regarding the resumption of initial applications and applications for advance parole. Unfortunately, we are hearing reports that the administration will attempt to end DACA a second time, likely through the issuance of a new memorandum or court filing later this week. We expect an announcement from the administration Thursday or Friday; encourage you to begin preparing your statements; and will flag any litigation opportunities and rapid response briefings as they arise.
Submit a Comment on CARES Act Emergency Grants for DACA/Undocumented Students.
Your institutional comment and information will help bolster the challenge to this rule.

You can use the full template, Higher Education Template Comment for CARES Act Emergency Grant Exclusions to submit the comment in response to the U.S. Department of Education proposed interim final rule excluding DACA recipients and undocumented students from the emergency financial grants under the CARES Act

We also provide an  easy-to-use summary of all the key points  i ncluded in the template.   Among the key points contained in the higher education template:
  • DOE has not considered the economic and non-economic costs of excluding students from access to emergency financial aid during a national pandemic crisis and in the midst of soaring unemployment rates.
  • Many undocumented and DACA students not eligible for Title IV assistance are among those with the greatest need and face unique challenges. Many of these students and their families do not have health insurance, suffer disproportionate health effects as a result of the pandemic, and struggle in the face of increasing unemployment and meeting basic needs.
  • The interim final rule would undermine institutions’ commitments to diversity and equity, making the playing field more uneven and harder for institutions to meet their educational and moral obligations to students of color, low-income students, undocumented students, and otherwise-marginalized students.

See our previous Member Update for more information on the importance of submitting a comment. We encourage your institution to adapt this template and submit a comment by July 17, 2020.
Thank you for your support.

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, and Jose Magaña-Salgado, Director of Policy and Communications
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration