UPDATE: On Tuesday, July 14 the Trump administration rescinded the policy that would have revoked visas for international students taking online courses. The decision was announced by a federal judge in Boston. The university is continuing to follow this news and support USF international students with visa and other issues.
Dear Members of the USF Community:
I am writing to update you on the actions USF has taken to support our international students and ensure their rights to continue their education without risk of deportation.
Hours ago, USF joined a coalition of 20 colleges and universities in the Western states and filed a lawsuit to block the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from revoking visas for international students whose studies will be entirely online in the fall.
As I wrote you last week, the abrupt decision by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) barring international students from remaining in the country if they enroll in remote-only instruction this fall was cruel and reckless.
Our lawsuit also states that the federal government’s action robs institutions of higher education of the autonomy and flexibility to adapt models of instruction to meet the urgent needs posed by a global pandemic.
In addition to today’s lawsuit, USF has signed on to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration’s amicus brief filed in support of the Harvard/MIT federal court lawsuit challenging the ICE directive. The brief and list of signatories may be accessed here.
International Student and Scholar Services and the Provost’s Office continue to work directly with every affected international student and their academic programs to ensure students are able to continue their education here at USF and maintain their immigration status.
Graduate and undergraduate programs are also working to expand in-person and hybrid offerings, and faculty members have expressed their solidarity and commitment to helping our students. Advisers, mentors, and fellow students are working to ensure that our international students’ academic work — and their professional and lifelong goals — are not interrupted.
As a Jesuit university that prioritizes the value of community, we intend to increase in-person instruction as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. We are in close touch with city, county and state public health officials, and are monitoring the course of the pandemic in the Bay Area, nationally, and internationally. As always, our priority is the health and safety of every member of our community.
Thank you for all you do for all students in our community. I continue to pray that you and yours are keeping safe and staying healthy during this pandemic.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.