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Wooster signs onto amicus brief to fight new ICE guidance restricting international student learning

July 9, 2020   /  

The College of Wooster has signed onto an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Harvard and MIT against United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security in response to new federal restrictions that place more than one million international students at risk of deportation amid a global pandemic. The amicus brief is being developed by the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.

Wooster is also actively advocating for changes in the US ICE policy, along with members of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), through a letter sent to our congressional representatives.

US ICE restrictions, released Monday, June 6, mandate that international students under F1 or M1 visas at Wooster and colleges and universities across the country must take at least one in-person class in order to stay in the U.S. and those registered for a fully online fall course load will be barred from entering or staying in the U.S. The restrictions also bar senior international students from OPT upon graduation if they plan to study remotely because of travel, health and other restrictions.

“Our international students – from 62 countries around the world – are a crucial part of the Wooster community. They bring so much wisdom, perspective, insight, knowledge, talent and courage to our study body,” said President Sarah Bolton. “These students work incredibly hard for college experience – from traveling far from home to studying and doing research in a second language to managing the complex US visa and immigration process. And this year, COVID-19 has added to that difficulty, with many students unable to travel home this summer, and others unable to get to Wooster, due to border closures.”

A total of 16 percent of all Wooster students are international students or global nomads. Nearly 100 international students remained on campus through spring and summer due to travel and other restrictions.

“These students deserve to have the college experience they have worked so hard for. We will continue to do all we can to fight for national policies that support our international students. We’ll also do everything within our power to make sure that they have the courses they need according to the ICE policies, so that they can stay and study in the US as they have planned,” added Bolton.

The College of Wooster issued new guidance to all international students Tuesday following the release of the new US ICE restrictions.

International students and families with questions or concerns should contact International Student Services at international@wooster.edu who can provide assistance and help navigate the changes.