Thank you for your interest in fighting recent guidance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that threatens international students with possible deportation if their U.S. school will be online-only in the fall of 2020.
The ICE policy is not final and your advocacy can make a difference!
What You Can Do
Educate your leadership: Reach out to your university and organizational leaders to urge them to speak to federal officials to stop this from happening. This Washington Post editorial, this CNBC story and our proposed sample message to lawmakers below are all good resources for those conversations
Activate your leadership: NAFSA has joined a coalition of higher education partners in circulating a sign on letter for institutions to express their opposition to the SEVP guidance. Urge your campus leaders to sign by July 15 by 5 pm EDT.
Email your members of Congress to oppose this policy: Below is a sample message you are encouraged to customize (particularly to reflect any prior communications) and send to the immigration staffer in the office of your two Senators and your Representative.
If you have already received the staffer contact information from NAFSA in recent weeks, simply customize the message below and send ASAP.
If you need the staffer contact information, please request it at NAFSA's advocacy portal, Connecting Our World and it will be emailed to you, along with the message below, within 24 hours.
Social media is another powerful means to communicate with Members of Congress, particularly for international students, as non-citizens. Find your two senators and one representative based on your home address, look up their Twitter handles, and tweet at them to oppose the #StudentBan. Sample tweets are provided here to customize accordingly:
As an #intlstudent at [insert Twitter handle of school] from [insert country], I am helping make America great. I urge [insert lawmaker Twitter handle(s)] to urge oppose the #StudentBan. #intled
A projected 25% decline in fall '20 #intlstudent enrollment would = a loss of ~$10 billion & 114,000 jobs. The #StudentBan will deepen that decline. The U.S. can't afford the loss of jobs & innovation. [insert lawmaker Twitter handle], urge @DHSGov to rescind the #StudentBan.
Reach out to us with any questions or feedback.
Advocate Message to Immigration Staffers
TO: [insert staffer email address]
Dear [insert staffer name]:
My name is [XXX] and I am a constituent from [insert affiliation and hometown]. I am writing to ask your boss to oppose recent operational guidance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that states all international students will face possible deportation—and the risk of not being able to return—if they attend a U.S. school that is operating entirely online in the fall 2020.
The ICE guidance simply forces international students to choose between their health or potential deportation and restricts an institution’s authority to make the best possible decisions for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
ICE’s policy is extreme, regressive, and damaging to international students and the entire higher education community in several significant ways, including:
- Sending another harmful message to international students that they are not welcome in this country, despite the multitude of ways they contribute to the academic, creative, economic (to the tune of nearly $41 billion in the 2019-20 academic year) and intellectual fabric of this country
- Recklessly and unfairly placing administrators who are in the midst of an unpredictable global pandemic in the position of having to weigh the public health risks of returning to in-person instruction against losing valued members of their campus community
- Putting an onerous and urgent administrative burden on institutions related to updating SEVIS and I-20 forms.
The July 6 ICE guidance should be rescinded immediately.
Given the timing, we urge [Senator/Representative Name] to act quickly to encourage DHS to withdraw this guidance and take immediate legislative action to protect the immigration and SEVIS status of any international student who, due to a decision by their institution, must take some or all classes virtually during the 2020-21 academic year.
[insert name and home address]