The US government has issued a revised policy for foreign students studying in the country.
Under the new rule announced on Monday by ICE, immigrant students whose classes are entirely moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic are required to leave the US failure to which they will be removed.
“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” US Immigration and Custom Enforcement said in a statement.
“If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
“Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” the agency added.
Further to this, ICE said students enrolled in schools and/or programmes that are fully online for the fall semester will not be issued with visas neither will they be allowed to enter the US.
Universities and colleges offering a combination of in-person and virtual classes will be required to prove that foreign students are taking as many physical classes as possible to maintain their status.
The move has attracted opposition from various critics including Senator Bernie Sanders, who accused the Trump administration of threating foreign leaners.
“The cruelty of this White House knows no bounds. Foreign students are being threatened with a choice: risk your life going to class-in person or get deported,” Senator Sanders tweeted.
As of 2019, there were over one million international students in the US, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). These students contributed $44.7 billion to the US economy in 2018.
China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada had the highest number of international students in the US in that order. The number of Kenyan students enrolled in US higher-education institutions stood at 3,451 last year.