UF International students may have to leave U.S. under new ICE guidelines regarding classes
UF has more than 5,000 students that may be affected by these new guidelines, according to university leaders.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Under new guidelines issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, international college students may have to leave the country if their classes are all online.
According to the Dean of the University of Florida’s International Center Leonardo A. Villalón, UF has more than 5,000 students that may be affected by these new guidelines.
UF international student Mariana Lopez is just one of thousands of students facing uncertainty in the U.S. waiting to see if their college will offer them at least one in-person class for them to be able to stay in the country.
“Like we shouldn’t be kicked out of the country, like one month before classes start,” Lopez said.
She says she will not be able to go back to her home country of Venezuela because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“Like we don’t know if it’s gonna open in October, in December, in September. like we don’t have any idea. So in the case we’re forced to leave the country, first we have to figure out another country to go meanwhile the borders open,” Lopez said.
Florida’s State University System Board of Governors recently approved UF’s plan to to reopen campus and hold some in-person classes in the fall semester, but not all classes are coming back to classrooms.
“It’s practically impossible to do a whole semester online. Like in Venezuela there are blackouts like three times a week. Like my parents spend all the night without electricity and it happens like several times a week,” Lopez said.
UF international students were sent out a letter from the International Center’s Dean saying:
“…we at the International Center are working immediately with the University administration and with partner institutions to get clarity on the exact implications of these new guidelines, and that we are committed to doing all in our power to ensure that you are able to continue in your studies and make progress to your degrees…”
The University of Florida did have to delay the release of their initial campus reopening plan due to rising COVID-19 cases.
As for Lopez, she says she hopes the plan includes in-person classes specifically for international students.
“I hope the university takes into consideration our opinion and our safety,” she said.
UF’s official document detailing their reopening plan is expected to be released on Friday.
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