The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, better known as ICE, better known as shitty toilet slugs, will now be deporting any international students attending colleges that operate online. Considering that many colleges and universities, including Harvard, USC, Georgetown, etc., are suspending in-person education for their 2020-2021 semesters because of COVID-19, that essentially means almost all foreign students are going to be forced to leave the country.
It's a baffling move that screws over just about everyone involved. Obviously you can start with the students who presumably invested ample time, money, and resources in order to travel to America and study here. Said Valeria Mendiola, a 26-year-old graduate student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, "If I have to go back to Mexico, I am able to go back, but many international students just can't." She's right. Many countries have travel restrictions in place because of that whole coronavirus thing you might have heard about, and that goes doubly for anyone traveling from the US. It's the classic philosophical case of having to deport an un-deportable person, but it's possible the scholars at ICE skipped that lecture in Philosophy 101, so we're not confident they'll be able to handle their self-inflicted conundrum well. You can almost feel the disgust lurching from Harvard University President Larry Bacow's mouth when he said this in a statement on Monday:
"We are deeply concerned that the guidance issued today by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement imposes a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach to a complex problem giving international students, particularly those in online programs, few options beyond leaving the country or transferring schools."
But Larry isn't just pissed on the behalf of his students. See, this new edict by ICE also screws over the American universities, and granted, it's hard to have too much sympathy for them when tuition costs about as much as a fleet of mid-sized sedans, but also consider this: In 2015, 28% of annual tuition revenue for American public universities came from foreign students. Any business is going to be in free-fall when suddenly losing a quarter of its potential revenue. If you're an American going to college and you think tuition is high now, just wait until those universities have to find a way to recoup that missing 28%.
But this move is baffling most of all because this just flat-out screws over America. Trump infamously opened his 2016 campaign by saying about Mexican immigrants, "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
It's the ethos with which Trump built his immigration platform and even if you were to adopt his horrible, xenophobic ideology as your own -- that some immigrants are worthwhile and some are not -- aren't these the immigrants you want? These are high-achieving students who got into colleges and universities who could go on to be scientists and engineers. It'd be like if we tried to deport Einstein back to Germany for telling us about atomic weapons because we were mad he was doing that research from his apartment.
Trump considers himself a nationalist, but if nationalism is doing what's best for your country at the exclusion of all else, then this isn't even nationalism. It is just xenophobia, and it is hurting our country badly.
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