Education interrupted. Years lost. Students face 'cruelty' of new visa policy
The new rule was designed “without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others,” says Harvard University President Larry Bacow.
Eight years ago, Shawn Shi moved to the United States from Chengdu, China, with a plan—finish high school and eventually earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
Last October, the now 24-year-old was on track to realize that dream. He got into the University of Michigan, transferred his student visa, and looked forward to starting life as a grad student in Ann Arbor this fall.
Then, in the wake of the pandemic, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office issued the “July 6 Directive,” which states that international students enrolled in online instruction face deportation unless they switch to in-person classes. Students currently outside the country won’t be allowed back in.
As a result, more than one million international students (about 5.5