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AACTE Statement on ICE Guidance for International Students at U.S. Colleges and Universities

Students doing homework and preparing exam at university, closeup of young man writing in college library

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today regarding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s guidance that forces colleges and universities to reopen with in-person classes:

“AACTE is appalled by efforts to deny international students from attending U.S. colleges and universities on the basis of enrollment in online versus in-person classes. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s position prohibits new or initial students on foreign visas after March 9 from entering the country and enrolling in fully online courses, thus forcing them to take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction this fall. This policy is both harmful to the health, safety, and overall well-being of the students and detrimental to their educational trajectories. Additionally, this action exacerbates the complex challenges institutions of higher education already face during this unprecedented time.

AACTE views this cruel, discriminatory act as part of the current administration’s ongoing attacks against legal immigration in our country and is contrary to the foundation of our nation’s values. In addition, the current administration’s refusal to accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is in defiance of the recent Supreme Court ruling and the laws of our land. Prohibiting international students from entering the country and attempting to dissolve the DACA program only fuels the xenophobic and corrupt, nationalistic views that are tolerated and propagated under the current administration.

According to EdData, there are more than one million international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. AACTE expressly supports these students, whose intellectual, cultural, and innovative contributions are beneficial to our country’s advancement. Teacher educators embrace diversity and global perspectives as essential to preparing high-quality, effective teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners in this nation and around the world.

AACTE denounces this politically infused immigration directive, which places international students directly into perilous and harmful circumstances. We call upon the federal government to rescind this policy, so that international students may continue their education without fear. We stand with all colleges, universities, and states suing the administration for the unlawful revocation of foreign student visas.”

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