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Trump Administration Abandons Plan to Deport All-Online International Students

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On July 6, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that international students studying in the U.S. could be forced to leave the country if their universities switch to offering only online-classes, a huge panic kicked-in for students and colleges alike.

Many international students took to social media to voice their dissatisfaction and within days, lawsuits, including by Harvard and M.I.T., had been filed against the order.

On July 14, in a victory for international students, the Trump administration reversed its position, walking back the policy, and ending a week of stress and anxiety.

Shanjil Shrestha, 22, a Nepali student studying at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said on July 6, "It's not our fault that colleges and universities are opting online classes so why should we (international students) be the one to pay the price..."

Politicians had also weighed in on ICE's decision: "Kicking international students out of the US during a global pandemic because their colleges are moving classes online for physical distancing hurts students," tweeted U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. 

Critics said the order would not only hurt international students' educations and futures, but will also cost the U.S. economically.

It's worth noting that the Department of Commerce said that international students contributed $44.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018.

In addition to this, 62% of all international students receive the majority of their funds from sources outside of the U.S., like family or home country assistance.

Many universities have already started offering classes online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Harvard University, which has 21% international students, recently announced that all its classes will be online in the 2020-21 academic year.

"They can’t jeopardize our future, our career and our investment at risk," Nitu Poudel, an international student at University of Houston, said. "We didn’t ask for this stupid pandemic."

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