On July 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that for the next school semester, they will deport any immigrant on a student visa in the United States who was enrolled only in online classes. This will put hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. at risk of deportation just because their school is protecting public health. It’s a heartless political ploy by Trump and his xenophobic cronies to force universities to either reopen more quickly or make the immigrant students leave.
While this new deportation policy is a cruel attack, the response has been inspiring. Students across the country have stood in solidarity with international students. At UC Berkeley, some students organized a student-facilitated class that will meet in-person (with social distancing) so that immigrants on student visas can meet the requirements to have at least one class in-person. Other universities in the UC system and across the country have followed suit, offering in-person classes specifically to immigrants on student visas. And Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration to reverse the policy.
This exhilarating reaction by students across the country is an example for us to follow and build upon. For decades, immigrants have been used as sources of cheap labor from which corporations and businesses take a greater profit – or as pawns and scapegoats in the racist and xenophobic games of politicians and CEOs. We need to organize ourselves and fight together to protect all immigrants from detention and deportation!
featured image credit: Mike Blake / Reuters