Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

In this July 8, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif.

Gregory Bull/The Associated Press

International students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools offer classes entirely online this fall, under new guidelines issued Monday by federal immigration authorities.

The guidelines, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, provide additional pressure for universities to reopen even amid growing concerns about the recent spread of COVID-19 among young adults. Colleges received the guidance the same day that some institutions, including Harvard University, announced that all instruction will be offered remotely.

President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and colleges return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. Soon after the guidance was released, Trump repeated on Twitter that schools must reopen this fall, adding that Democrats want to keep schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons.”

Story continues below advertisement

“They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!” Trump wrote.

Under the updated rules, international students must take at least some of their classes in person. New visas will not be issued to students at schools or programs that are entirely online. And even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses this fall, international students will be barred from taking all their classes online.

It creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who became stranded in the U.S. last spring after the coronavirus forced their schools to move online. Those attending schools that are staying online must “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction,” according to the guidance.

The American Council on Education, which represents university presidents, said the guidelines are “horrifying” and will result in confusion as schools look for ways to reopen safely.

Of particular concern is a stipulation saying students won’t be exempt from the rules even if an outbreak forces their schools online during the fall term. It’s unclear what would happen if a student ended up in that scenario but faced travel restrictions from their home country, said Terry Hartle, the council’s senior vice-president.

“It’s going to cause enormous confusion and uncertainty,” Hartle said. “ICE is clearly creating an incentive for institutions to reopen, regardless of whether or not the circumstances of the pandemic warrant it.”

The international education group NAFSA blasted the rules and said schools should be given the authority to make decisions that are right for their own campuses. It said the guidance “is harmful to international students and puts their health and well-being and that of the entire higher education community at risk.”

Story continues below advertisement

Nearly 400,000 foreigners received student visas in the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30, down more than 40% from four years earlier. School administrations partly blame visa processing delay.

Colleges across the U.S. were already expecting sharp decreases in international enrolment this fall, but losing all international students could be disastrous for some. Many depend on tuition revenue from international students, who typically pay higher tuition rates. Last year, universities in the U.S. attracted nearly 1.1 million students from abroad.

Trump’s critics were quick to attack the new guidelines. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, said 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,” Sanders said in a tweet. “We must stand up to Trump’s bigotry. We must keep all our students safe.”

Dozens of colleges have said they plan to offer at least some classes in person this fall, but some say it’s too risky. The University of Southern California last week reversed course on a plan to bring students to campus, saying classes will be hosted primarily or exclusively online. Harvard on Monday said it will invite first-year students to live on campus, but classes will stay online.

Immigration authorities suspended certain requirements for international students early in the pandemic, but colleges were awaiting guidance on what would happen this fall. ICE notified schools of the changes Monday and said a formal rule would be forthcoming.

Story continues below advertisement

The announcement was the Trump administration’s latest pandemic-related strike against legal immigration. Last month, authorities extended a ban on new green cards to many people outside the United States and expanded the freeze to include many on temporary work permits, including at high-tech companies, multinational corporations and seasonal employers.

The administration has long sought deep cuts to legal immigration, but the goal was elusive before the coronavirus.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies