Today, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced its plans to deport international students if their college goes fully online for the fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While this would be arduous for every international student forced to return to their countries to study online, Iranian students in particular will be impacted due to sanctions. In response, NIAC Policy Director Ryan Costello issued the following statement:
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“This is a cruel and senseless policy that will effectively kick many Iranians out of their program. It is unjustified and takes advantage of a global pandemic to advance the administration’s xenophobic aims. It must be immediately reversed, lest the United States solidify its growing reputation as a country that is openly hostile to foreign students with so much to offer our country.
“This proposed policy will be arduous for many students, but particularly for Iranians who would be subject to sanctions on the ground in Iran. Current sanctions prohibit colleges and universities from offering online learning to Iranians in many fields, including the sciences, engineering and mathematics. Moreover, sanctions have increasingly limited the technology available to Iranians, with major companies like Amazon Web Services, Google and Slack barring or restricting their products and services. For many Iranians, being forced to leave the U.S. would mean that they would be unable to continue their coursework, indefinitely putting their higher learning on hold.
“Iranian students have had to navigate sanctions, the Muslim ban and now the possibility of deportation amid a pandemic. It is unacceptable that the Trump administration has imposed ban after ban on immigrants with zero consequences. Congress and the courts must take immediate steps to review this order before it does untold damage across the country.”