Students at graduation
Image Source: SOFi

Pakistani students are once again disadvantaged in their pursuit of education. Many Universities in the US have announced that the Fall semester will be online due to coronavirus. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Monday that international students living in the US must leave if their university goes online. That, or they will risk deportation.

ICE’s Approach

ICE’s blunt decision comes at the worst possible time. This will only create more fear, anxiety, and confusion in an already uncertain time. Most students, currently in the US, are away from family. Moreover, like any other individual right now, their mental health is also at stake here due to quarantine. For ICE to drop a bomb like this is merely terrible.

In addition to that, it’s representing a Trump-like attitude of insensitivity towards internationals.

Last year, the White House issued an immigration proclamation that forced hundreds into uncertainty and loss.

The Perception Of Pakistani Students

Pakistani students are a part of the group of international students in various universities. This decision is going to tar their perception further. International students are always perceived to be inferior in academia and tolerate implicit racism. They are regarded as charity cases by the University, which implies that they wouldn’t be here if the University did not need money.

Image Source: The Dayspring

Why This Decision Is Insensitive

Most of the countries international students hail from have currently suspended flights. How do they return? In addition to that, most students are not paying full tuition fees. They have secured scholarships or are funded by external parties. For such students going back and forth repeatedly costs an arm and a leg and is impossible. For those students who support their tickets with their own earning, this is another hardship.

By continually putting international students at a financial disadvantage, Universities prefer their nationals.

How are The Universities Responding

ICE also dared to suggest students transfer to schools offering in-person classes. According to them, to stay in the US, they must put their health at stake. Some Universities, however, are implementing a hybrid model with a mix of in-person classes and online. University representatives from Brown and Harvard have added that they’re going to chart plans for the future that accommodate students from all backgrounds. 

Going Forward

The plan for the future sounds uncertain for all. Those who were yet to decide which University to go to in Fall, they will be nudged away from the US. These students will most likely consider going to study at a different University. As for ICE, it is facing its fair share of backlash from students and media groups alike.

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