AAUW Rejects Move to Force International Students to Leave U.S. Amid Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced that students from abroad will have to leave the U.S. if their college or university classes are only offered online. The following is a statement from Laura Segal, AAUW’s Senior Vice President of Communications and External Relations.

As one of the world’s leading supporters for graduate education for women from around the globe, AAUW soundly rejects ICE’s announcement that international students cannot remain in the United States if their colleges and universities are operating solely online.

To force students to suspend or interrupt their studies and leave the country or risk being deported is senseless. It would interfere with important research, disrupt scholars’ academic and personal lives and put their economic security and future career prospects in jeopardy. All international students would confront unnecessary challenges, particularly those from countries where educational opportunities for women are lacking.

At a time when colleges and universities are already struggling to adapt to a global pandemic, this move will create even more confusion — and financial instability — for academic institutions.

AAUW has long advocated for gender equity in education. We are proud to have helped women from more than 150 countries attain advanced degrees and do groundbreaking research at universities across the nation. We urge ICE to rethink its decision so the United States can maintain its international reputation for academic excellence.