Schools left scrambling after ‘shocking’ ICE announcement

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — International students who are pursuing a degree in the U.S. may have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement made that announcement this week.

Sacramento State said there could be as many as 400 students that will be impacted by this. University officials said this was completely unexpected.

“The timing of the announcement is a little bit shocking,” school administrator Paul Hofmann said. “We’re only six weeks from the beginning of the semester.”

Hofmann is the associate vice president for International Programs and Global Engagement at Sacramento State. He said since Monday, when ICE made the announcement, his team has been scrambling to advise students now impacted.

“We’re in the process right now of going through and looking at everybody’s schedule to determine how many students have courses with some face-to-face component with it,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann said about 5% of course offerings at Sac State will be either a face-to-face or a hybrid, with some online and some in-person time.

“Many of those are labs or practicums, hands-on courses where students need to be physically present,” Hofmann said. “There’s also a number of theater dance and music classes. We’re going to go through and look at everybody’s schedule, do some advising of students and ensure that any student that’s in the United States will have the opportunity to enroll in one of those classes”

But Hofmann said those students will have to act fast, as classes start next month.

“It doesn’t give students a great deal of time to adjust,” he said.

Outgoing University of California President Janet Napolitano released a statement on the ICE announcement, which reads, in part:

Making it more difficult for international students to study here undermines decades of collaboration between the United States and our international partners, particularly in fields that contribute to America’s economic vitality.

The Trump administration’s latest actions impacting international students jeopardize our nation’s future as a worldwide leader in research and innovation.

Janet Napolitano, outgoing president, University of California

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