The American Counseling Association and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision stand in opposition to new regulations issued by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that will withdraw visas from foreign students whose courses move fully online. Following is a joint statement repudiating the modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program:
“According to the ICE announcement, international students taking a full online course load in Fall 2020 will not be permitted to stay in the United States. This policy poses a direct threat to not only academic studies or career plans of international students but also the higher education institutions’ autonomy to make decisions that prioritize public health. Forcing international students to risk their health by either taking classes in-person/hybrid or depart home during a global pandemic is unconscionable.
Over a million international students make significant personal, familial, and financial sacrifices to study in the U.S. They work hard to adjust to a new culture and their academic studies under already precarious circumstances that make their educational and career development path highly unpredictable and stressful. These issues are further compounded by financial setbacks, travel restrictions and emergency mandates in response to COVID-19—specifically, for international counseling students who are required to see clients for Practicum and Internship classes.
Additionally, this announcement puts an enormous burden on universities, because it outlines consequences for international students while providing little to no guidance for universities to reopen safely. In light of this, we urge the Department of Homeland Security to retract the recent modification to the SEVP and allow international students to complete their education without fear of deportation or risk to their physical and mental health.
In the meantime, we support and stand with international students and schools who resist the ICE policy. We also encourage counseling programs to make a commitment to their international students by finding resilient, creative educational solutions to avoid or minimize the impact of the ICE policy (e.g., hybrid course solutions that do not present health risks).”