Long Beach State President Jane Close Conoley said that the administration is working to determine how they can accommodate international students with on campus classes.
“We have about 1,200 affected students,” Conoley said in an email. “Each is being assessed now for what face-to-face courses can be added (if necessary) to their fall semester.”
An update on the recent announcement made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement: pic.twitter.com/uvz08b1MYy
— Cal State Long Beach (@CSULB) July 7, 2020
Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that those in the United States on a F-1 Visa who are attending universities not planning on offering in-person instruction come the fall 2020 semester will be deported. Those students looking to enter the U.S. and attend a university that is not offering in-person classes will be denied entry into the country.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with California State University Chancellor Timothy White and California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, announced Thursday that the CSU system is filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration, stating the policy “threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and exile hundreds of thousands of college students studying in the United States.”
The new policy would require international students to take classes in person, which places themselves as well as professors, other students and the entire community at risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.
“Not on our watch,” Becerra said. “No one graduates more students from college or assembles a more talented and diverse group of future leaders than California. Today’s lawsuit rests on America’s enduring principle that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules will earn a chance to get ahead. We’ll see the Trump Administration in court.”
ICE’s decision comes just a few weeks before classes are set to resume, and for many, online. CSULB officials have yet to make a definitive announcement regarding plans for the entirety of fall semester.
White said in the statement that the CSU system fully supports Becerra’s decision and that the policy disrupts the degree progress of more than 10,300 international students.
“The California State University stands in the strongest opposition to the policy guidance issued Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” White said. “It is a callous and inflexible policy… and it deprives all of our students — and the communities, state and nation we serve — of the remarkable contributions of these international students.”
To maintain their status, students must be enrolled in at least a one-unit hybrid course per ICE regulations. In attempts to combat this, universities are looking at adding courses to their catalogs to accommodate international students.
Mio Konishi, who studied at CSULB as an exchange student, traveled back to Japan at the end of March, narrowly avoiding problems with her Visa. She was originally set to leave in June, but the switch to alternative instruction caused her to change her plans.
“I thought foreign students would be in trouble if the pandemic got worse and I didn’t want to get in trouble,” Konishi said. “I don’t believe that forcing students to leave the country prevents this pandemic because they are already in quarantine in the U.S.”
Conoley announced in June that the first half of the fall semester would continue with remote delivery, with further plans in the air depending on guidance from local government and health officials surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, ASI President Omar Prudencio Gonzalez, Vice President Maythe Alderete Gonzalez and Treasurer Adriana Andrade released a joint statement denouncing ICE’s decision, stating they will continue fighting in solidarity with CSULB’s international students.
“Let us be clear, we will not stand for that,” they said. “To us, this is our nation’s government blatantly targeting universities and our international students, who at their core represent the ingenious character of what America should be — full of diverse backgrounds, opinions, perspectives and talent.”
About 400 international students traveled back home when CSULB began remote instruction and, according to Conoley, can continue their studies from home in the fall.
“This is a terrible and outrageous policy,” Conoley said. “The pandemic is still raging. Forcing students in for face-to-face doesn’t make sense.”
This story was contributed to by editor in chief, Madalyn Amato.