UCLA is among the universities that will offer a hybrid model of online and in-person classes to all students, including international students whose visas are affected by new federal rules.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Arnold O. Beckman High School

Opinion: We should not be pushing international students out

International students in the United States will be deported if their school goes online for the upcoming fall semester, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines released on July 6.

When I first heard this news, I was shocked — as I am sure everyone was. During a time when the world is going through a series of crises, this “cherry-on-top” is almost too cruel; but apparently not cruel enough to be not enforced. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the ICE enforced these standards to “provide additional pressure for universities to reopen even amid growing concerns about the recent spread of COVID-19 among young adults.”

The concept of putting “pressure” on these universities to hold on-campus as opposed to virtual classes again is simply ridiculous. From a student’s perspective, I am sure that the class of 2020 and the rest of the roughly 14.5 million American college students welcome going back to campus with open arms. We want that breath of fresh air outside and be surrounded by our friends and teachers. But, gathering in school like we did prior to the pandemic would be detrimental to the US population. 

What remains unclear is why roughly one million international students are being targeted.

A foreign student — Justine, who chose to keep her full name confidential — told TIME: “‘We’ve uprooted our entire lives to be here.’”

Other international college students fear not going back to their schools; if every single class of theirs goes online, they will be forced to transfer to a school that is holding on-campus classes or be deported. 

As an incoming senior in high school, I fear what this means for my international classmates in my grade and who are going off to college.

How will this impact them in the coming year? Will we be forced to part ways? 

In a time where Americans are panicking about the rising number of COVID-19 cases, most are defying social distancing rules, some are dedicating time to important issues regarding racism and others are choosing to ignore these problems, our nation could use some help and some kindness.

Rather than adding another issue to the plate, we should be assisting these international students, not giving them more trouble. In fact, we should be giving aid to all students and all people.

Though many colleges are still figuring out how to deal with these new guidelines, one thing remains certain: our nation should be working together to face the matters at hand. In no way should we be pushing people out.