AFT Massachusetts released the following statement from AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos regarding new guidelines from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that threaten international students with deportation if their college holds classes entirely online this fall, or if an outbreak forces their college to cancel in-person classes.
“Let’s call this decision what it is: a racist president doubling down on his failed strategy of denying the realities of the COVID-19 health crisis, and renewing his campaign of hate against immigrants.
“ICE’s new guidelines force international students and their colleges into an impossible dilemma. Students will be pushed to choose between risking their health by attending in-person classes or risk being deported to their countries of origin, where they may be unable to continue their education. Others will be forced to disrupt their education by transferring, either to another American college with in-person classes or to a college in another country. Many students will never return, and our country and our communities will miss out on their contributions.
“This decision threatens the health and safety of all of us. By pressuring colleges to offer in-person classes, and most egregiously, by compelling schools to keep those in-person classes going even if a surge in the virus should close them down, the Trump administration’s actions put us all at greater risk, for the sake of his racist vendetta against immigrants.
“Trump has utterly failed to protect Americans from the COVID-19 pandemic, and months into this crisis, he still has no plan other than scapegoating immigrants as he looks for someone else to blame for his failures. ICE must retract this decision and protect international students from deportation in the middle of a pandemic. AFT Massachusetts stands with the students, educators, administrators, and elected officials who are rising up to oppose this irresponsible decision.”