We hope this message finds you healthy and well. We are writing on behalf of newly admitted international students of New York University (NYU) from China, but also to raise awareness to issues concerning the international student populace as a whole. It is a pleasure to communicate with you.
The recent policy from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has weighed heavily upon the international students, both those who are currently abroad as well as those who are currently living in the U.S. We are writing today to communicate with the university administration regarding our concerns. As we all prepare to start our fall semester as planned, we believe our perspectives would be beneficial in assisting the university to make a responsible and effective policy regarding the safety of international students.
1. According to the memo issued by NYU Office of Global Service (OGS) on July 7th, international students attending NYU must comply with the ICE regulations, which would prevent them from starting their semester fully online while on U.S. soil. One particular concern regarding this is that newly admitted students have not received this memo in its entity until July 9th.
2. International students who are currently in the U.S. will be compelled to take in-person classes to maintain their legal status. This process will involve students, including students who are immunocompromised and considered at-risk, to travel to New York City and attend classes on-site. Additionally, students would be compelled to leave the United States if the university were to switch to an online-only model due to health concerns during the Fall semester.
3. International students who wish to take a fully online schedule must leave the U.S. and return to NYU ideally in the Spring of 2021. However, applying for a visa via the U.S. embassy and consulates in respected locality is still contingent upon policies from the Department of the State.
4. International students have raised serious concerns of flexible reopening at NYU. Hybrid classes or “in-person classes with remote options” may constitute a temporary relief, but their details are not yet finalized. International students are concerned about its potential to violate ICE policy, leading to deportations and blacklisting.
5. In addition to these concerns, the travel restriction implemented by other countries’ aviation authority has largely limited the capabilities for students to acquire a plane ticket and depart the U.S. on time. It will inevitably force students who wish to return to their home countries to violate ICE regulation against their will. According to ICE regulation, these students will “face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
These circumstances are seriously and directly implicating the health and safety of international students in the U.S. Students will also likely face a multitude of other difficulties due to the new ICE regulation. We, as a group, would like to communicate with the NYU administration to develop a sophisticated yet responsible policy to protect the basic rights of international students. We acknowledge and sympathize with the university’s financial and administrative difficulty to manage such a wide-range student population during this pandemic. The goal of this email is to establish a productive communication channel between the university administration and its vulnerable population of international students. We are looking forward to a prompt reply from the university.
Zitian Sun (GSAS, Political Science, firstname.lastname@example.org)