Flint immigration lawyer disagrees with ICE policy of deporting remote students

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 11:12 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The Trump administration is making it more difficult for international students to study in the U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Monday said students who attend classes completely online cannot stay in the U.S. -- and even face deportation. But a Flint immigration lawyer says there’s no merit to the ruling.

“To me, that is like a threat, because law enforcement is saying we’re going to get you if you do these things,” said immigration attorney Muna Jondy.

She is trying to make sense out of an ICE ruling Monday that foreign students cannot stay in the U.S. if they are taking classes online.

“It’s obviously really problematic because these American institutions and universities really rely on international tuition,” Jondy said.

So what kind of an effect could this have on Michigan universities with large international student populations?

“Universities like U-M Flint, Ann Arbor, or MSU are not going to be impacted by that when they have hybrid,” Jondy said.

Hybrid as in offering classes online and in person. Jondy said she’s heard of other universities who are doing online classes only already coming up with ways to get around the ruling.

“I believe I saw this yesterday, UC Davis, one of the professors says any of you international students who are online, if you want to do an independent study 1 on 1, let’s put that together,” she said.

Jondy is perplexed by how exactly if and how this will be enforced. On top of that, the pandemic has prohibited travel to certain countries.

“My head spins with this,” she said. “For the American economy, for our institutions, the advancement of our medicine and technology, these immigration bans are actually contrary to what’s in the best interest of our nation.”

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