International students in the US whose colleges switch to online-only classes this fall will have to leave the country or transfer to another school, according to a Monday afternoon order by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Foreign nationals participating in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) had previously been allowed to take their spring and summer 2020 courses online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If affected students don't transfer to in-person programs and remain in the US, they will be subject to "immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings."
ICE announces that foreign students attending colleges that go online-only either have to transfer to a school offering in-person instruction or leave the country... pic.twitter.com/lB1Y8yMuyX— Erica L. Green (@EricaLG) July 6, 2020
The move comes as colleges across the country - including Harvard, announce that undergraduate classes for the 2020-21 academic year will be held online.
"Students will learn remotely, whether or not they live on campus," wrote Harvard officials.
Earlier Monday, President Trump tweeted "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" in an undoubtedly related statement.
SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
And now, with colleges standing to lose thousands of immigrant students, the pressure is on to resume in-person classes this fall.