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Here’s How Students are Reacting to Trump’s Defacto Student Ban

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:02 PM
Simon Chandler
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:02 PM
  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stipulated that international students whose courses are all-online must leave the U.S.
  • Students, teachers and college officials have reacted with horror at the news, with Twitter being flooded by complaints.
  • Universities may find workarounds for the student ban, while it may also face legal challenges.

A de-facto international student ban has sparked widespread condemnation and outrage, after the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it will not renew visas for international students taking classes online .

President Donald Trump has used the ruling to put pressure on universities and colleges to reopen as normal. The announcement from ICE came on the same day that schools, such as Harvard, announced that all teaching would be provided online .

Students, teachers and college officials have reacted with horror at the ruling, which may affect up to four hundred thousand international students . Many believe that ICE’s ruling is unenforceable, however, and that the Trump administration is pushing it for political reasons.

This student’s reality mirrors international students on a visa in the United States.|  Source: Twitter 

Student Ban: Xenophobic, Ridiculous, Cruel, Arbitrary

Many students have blasted the Trump administration for cynically using a pandemic to come down hard on immigrants.

Trump Student Ban reaction tweet
A student reacts with disbelief at ICE’s updated guidelines. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

Others point out that it makes little economic sense to ban international students. Particularly when the U.S. is in the middle of a recession. But hey, the stock market is rallying, so who cares, right?

Trump student ban $45 billion contribution tweet
A Twitter user points out that international students contribute around $45 billion to the U.S. economy . ⎮ Source: Twitter 

There’s also plenty of confusion. Many students don’t know whether they’ll be able to reenter their home nations.

Borders closed tweet
A Twitter user complains that her international student will be deported, but won’t be accepted back into his country of origin. ⎮Source: Twitter 

Many students also face other obstacles that would make it difficult for them to leave the U.S.

Long-term leases tweet
A Twitter user notes that many international students have various commitments which make it difficult for them to leave. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

Students in the U.S. are almost universally appalled by ICE’s move. Some now even regret coming to the U.S. in the first place. I suspect Donald Trump and his base will be happy about this, given their delusional belief that America’s problems would somehow be solved overnight if all immigrants departed.

U.S. regret tweet
An international student expresses regret at having ever come to the U.S. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

The Ban Isn’t Workable

As with much Trump administration policy, ICE’s new student ban may not actually be workable. It may seem appealing to racists and idiots at first glance, but enforcing it would be extremely messy.

Schools may find a workaround. Many may adopt a “hybrid” system whereby they have some classes online and some in-person (perhaps involving social distancing).

Hybrid model student ban tweet
Lawyer Aaron Reichlin-Melnick raises the possibility that some colleges may adopt a hybrid teaching model. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

The legal status of Trump’s student ban is also questionable. Lawyers expect numerous legal challenges to be made against it.

Lawyer legal challenge tweet
Lawyer Aaron Reichlin-Melnick believes lawsuits are inevitable. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

Reichlin-Melnick’s prediction is likely accurate. Teachers and university academics are already gearing up to fight the student ban.

Fight ban tweet
Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, Jenny Lee, affirms that schools will fight the student ban. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

Donald Trump Plays Games

The international student ban may not be about actually sending immigrants home. It may just be Donald Trump playing at least two political games.

One: he’s playing to his anti-immigration crowd. Trump has already used the pandemic to attack immigration, having signed an executive order in June affecting as many 167,000 immigrant workers .

Two: the student ban is a wedge to force universities into opening. Trump’s own tweet yesterday indicates this.

Trump schools tweet
Trump being Trump. ⎮ Source: Twitter 

It’s likely that the ban is being used not just to reopen schools, but also to help reopen the U.S. economy. Because with an election due in November, Trump really needs those GDP figures.