SACRAMENTO, Calif. – SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On June 6, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) which would prohibit foreign students studying in the U.S. from taking a fully online course load. According to the announcement, “The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.” Our foreign community college students face a choice: either attend courses in person during a dangerous pandemic or face deportation. In light of the pandemic and enormous challenges our students face, it is egregious to force our students to subject themselves to life-threatening conditions to satisfy unnecessarily onerous requirements.
“We at the Student Senate stand by our international students! This is a cruel predicament to place them in. They should be afforded the same exceptions as native California community college students due to the COVID pandemic. They are not choosing to take online classes, but rather are being forced to do so. This is an unhealthy burden placed on these students.” President Stephen Kodur
As students’ stories are pouring in about the impact these modifications will have on their educational and personal goals, we are finding that there are so many uncertainties. These uncertainties pervade the anxiety and fear felt by our international students and illustrate just how dire their situation is. We encourage international students to reach out to their college officials to see how they can continue to be a student in the U.S.
The Student Senate is committed to our international students and have begun to coordinate meetings with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office in order to bring a swift resolution to this unjust modification of the SEVP policy. We are also pleased to see today that the California Attorney General filed a lawsuit on behalf of these students. The Student Senate will continue to bring student interests to the forefront and be a resounding voice for all students.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. The Student Senate for California Community College works to promote and safeguard access for current and future students to California public higher education in accordance with the Master Plan for Higher Education through system participatory governance, legislative and policy advocacy, and regional support and development and is the official voice of California community college students statewide.