The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) calls upon Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reconsider its recent directive to force international students who are currently studying and in the US to depart the US if their college transformed to on line-education as a temporary measure due to covi-19 pandemic crisis. Bizarrely in the middle of a pandemic, students are asked to find alternate in-person colleges in order to sustain their student visas F-1 or/and M-1 in case their perspective schools could not accommodate in-person education.

This directive imposes immense and unjustifiable hardship on international students. While it is might be a rational position during normal times, it is not during a pandemic. We are imposing hardship and uncertainty on hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings for no justifiable public policy goals. The decision to transform education to on-line format was not the student’s choice nor decision, it is a public health issue.

AHRC is at loss to understand this callous decision that disregards basic common sense and decency. This directive will impact hundreds of thousands of international students and their families. This extreme measure adds to the misery and the hardship of these students who are coping with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that impacted everyone.

The pandemic crisis compelled schools and colleges to seek alternate options in order to sustain services. The on-line option was imposed by the pandemic and is a hard choice for the colleges as well. This decision as announced, by design or by default, punishes students and puts them in unnecessary legal limbo. A policy guided by compassion and serving the US national interest in remaining a destination for international students would not impose such hardship.

AHRC calls upon the DHS and ICE to reconsider their decision and allow the students to continue their education as normal as possible under these tough circumstances.

“We are appalled by this directive that does nothing but impose needless hardship and anxiety on the international students who chose to study in the US,” AHRC Executive Director. “We call on DHS to retract this policy before it imposes further harm on the students, the colleges they attend and the communities they live in,” added Hamad.

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