UPDATE: On July 14, 2020, news outlets began reporting that ICE has rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the pandemic.The decision was announced at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and "return to the status quo." For more coverage of this breaking story, see here, here, and here.
On July 6, 2020, US ICE’s Broadcast Message: COVID-19 and Fall 2020 informed institutions of the updated reporting requirements for hosting F-1 and M-1 visa students this fall semester. According to Thomas Torres-Gil, Director of Peralta's International Services and Student Support office, "Our international students and community immediately contacted our office and colleges to express their valid concerns and frustration towards a policy that has been described asreckless,horrifying, and aself-inflicted wound."
Shortly after the announcement, the Office of International Education sent an email to our international students – which you can findHERE– that acknowledges this announcement as well as communicated with our students that we would be reviewing the guidance and seeking out support. Our office and staff have been digesting this guidance, reviewing PCCD’s Fall 2020 course offerings, and identifying strategies and potential solutions that can ensure our students can continue their academic journey.
On July 9, 2020, the Office of International Education hosted a meeting with students that discussed options currently available and sharing additional resources for support. Our goal has and will always be to support our students and do what we can – within our requirements – to help them achieve their goals. While this situation takes away from our ability to focus on improving our services this fall we are confident that we can find a viable solution for many students.
Director Torres-Gil continued, "We also would like acknowledge and thank our students, colleges, and community for their ideas, creativity, and willingness to find solutions. In addition, we would like to acknowledge our staff and on campus support for responding to students concerns and connecting with us."
The Peralta Colleges are looking forward to assisting our students while at the same time adhering to the same health and safety measures that will keep us safe from COVID-19. These are the moments that our colleges and district truly come together and makes it special to be a part of this community.
Peralta Community College District Chancellor Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud stated that "The Peralta Community College District celebrates diversity and provides opportunity for all. Our efforts in support of international students are aligned with the California Attorney General and the State Chancellor's Office. International students are critically important members of our diverse community and we are doing all we can to ensure that students are able to complete their studies at the Peralta Colleges."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and California State University Chancellor Timothy White on Thursdayannouncedthe State of California is filing alawsuitchallenging the Trump Administration’s unlawful policy that threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and exile hundreds of thousands of college students studying in the United States through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Read Chancellor Oakley’s statement on the lawsuithere. The University of California on Wednesday announced its intention tosue the federal governmentover the new guidelines.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Eloy Ortiz Oakley issued this statement supporting the California lawsuit against the ICE policy:
“With this lawsuit, California is standing up for the nearly 22,000 international students who attend our community colleges and standing up for our right to continue teaching and learning in a safe and responsible way during the pandemic. We will not sacrifice the benefit of the diversity of experiences and perspectives that international students bring to our colleges, nor will we sacrifice the safety of any student, faculty or staff member at our 115 colleges. State and local officials are in the best position to determine reopening approaches based on public health conditions. Attorney General Becerra’s lawsuit seeks to quickly turn back this punitive federal directive.”