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Macalester College Response to ICE Guidance

A message from President Suzanne Rivera

This week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued guidance regarding immigration requirements for international students who hold F-1 visas that allow them to study at U.S. colleges and universities. The guidance would bar these students from entering or remaining in the country if their fall classes will be taught exclusively online. 

Let me say unequivocally that we find this ruling appalling and cruel. We stand with our international students — we see you, we hear you, and we will fight for you. 

The hybrid model of instruction that Macalester has planned for the fall semester would fall under an exception to this new guidance and offer our international students a path to comply with the regulations, which unnecessarily and abruptly disrupt our students’ lives. However, should we be forced to switch to a fully remote learning experience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health guidance, the ICE regulations would require our international students to leave the country and finish their classes from home. For many of our students, this places them in an unworkable, and potentially unsafe, position. We will not sit by while our students are endangered.  

At Macalester, internationalism is at the core of our mission. We have long benefited from the invaluable contributions international students bring to our community. Indeed, they are central to who we are as an institution and we need to ensure that they are protected.

We are committed to working individually with every student who may be affected by these needlessly onerous rules to ensure the fewest disruptions to their education and lives. We are reviewing the guidelines with legal counsel to determine the optimal response as an institution to support our international students. The college, led by our International Student Programs staff, is actively reaching out to all of our international students to offer assistance so that they are able to continue their education.

Both on our own and in partnership with other colleges and universities, Macalester will challenge this guidance and advocate for a rescission. Along with many other institutions, we’ve signed an amicus brief being submitted by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in support of the Harvard/MIT lawsuit challenging the ruling. In the meantime, we want to make clear that Macalester stands by not only our international students on our campus, but the hundreds of thousands of others who make our nation’s campuses the most vibrant and diverse in the world.

July 9, 2020