Call on Administration to Clarify Policy on Allowing International Students in the Country

(Excerpts from ACE News Room)

  • ACE President Ted Mitchell and the presidents of three other major higher education associations sent a letter last week to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Department Homeland Security (DHS) last week asking for clarification that international students can safely travel to begin the academic term this fall.
  • The presidents urged the agencies to work together to safeguard the ability of new international students enrolled in hybrid academic programs at U.S. institutions to have their visas processed and enter the country, as outlined in a recent FAQ document from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • ICE announced late last month that new international students who plan to enroll at a college or university that has adopted an all-online instruction plan for the fall will be barred from entering the country.
  • Although the agency carved out an exception for students in hybrid programs—those that have both an online and in-person component—there have been reports of students being denied entry to the United States while traveling on valid visas for a hybrid program.
  • On a related note, members of Congress are calling on DHS to allow new international students into the country, regardless of the status of their program of study.
  • On Aug. 13, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) led 75 of their colleagues in the House and Senate in a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf calling on him to revise the ICE guidance, writing that “ICE should not be creating disparate treatment between new and existing students.”