Action Center

CAIR Action Alert: Urge Congress to Push for ICE to Grant Exemptions to Foreign Students

(WASHINGTON, DC - 7/7/2020) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on all Americans to urge their members of Congress to push the Trump administration and ICE to reverse its "cruel, dangerous and xenophobic" directive to force international students on F-1 and M-1 visas out of the United States if their schools shift to online-only learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


According to guidance released yesterday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), international students could be forced to leave the United States or transfer schools if their colleges and universities move classes entirely online this fall.

However, ICE previously granted an exemption to foreign students who would have been similarly impacted by the shift to online-learning during the spring semester. ICE could authorize another exemption for students studying during the 2020-2021 school year but has refused to do so.

SEE: Foreign students could be forced to leave U.S. if colleges move online

CAIR is encouraging colleges and universities to protect foreign students from deportation by identifying ways to arrange the minimum amount of safe on-campus learning for impacted students.

CAIR's action alert will send the following message to their members of Congress:

"The Trump administration must immediately reverse this cruel, dangerous and xenophobic decision, which is the latest in a long line of policies designed to maintain white supremacy and prevent the entry of people from non-European nations.

"International students should not be punished for circumstances outside of their control, nor should they have to choose between risking their lives on a plane or in a classroom. 

"Congress must push ICE to use the authority it has to exempt foreign students impacted by the shift to online-learning. ICE should be using this authority until a COIVD-19 vaccination  is readily available and class schedules have gone back to normal."

"While we seek to reverse ICE's decision, colleges and universities should do whatever they can to ensure that international students are able to stay here while they participate in as much online-only learning as possible."

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw, 202-999-8292, rmccaw@cair.com


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