For Immediate Release
Contact: Emily Porter
Phone: (202) 828-8370
Washington, DC – The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, today reacted to restrictions released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) mandating that international students enrolled in U.S. institutions that are holding online-only courses this fall must leave the country or risk deportation. Over the past several months, many U.S. colleges and universities have moved to an online-only format for the fall semester to keep students and faculty safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the new ICE mandate, Leila Austin, executive director of PAAIA, issued the following statement:
“PAAIA is deeply concerned by the government’s decision to upend the academic pursuits of international students who have come to the United States to learn from our nation’s esteemed institutions. Preventing international students from remaining in the United States to complete their education online is a threat to our higher education system. This mandate presents an enormous financial burden to students and academic institutions who have already been hard-hit by the pandemic and jeopardizes the health, safety, and future of students, particularly those with single-entry visas who will be forced to reapply while our embassies remain closed abroad. At a time when our nation’s economy is struggling, the government should be focused on ways to support American colleges and universities, not driving revenues overseas. PAAIA urges congressional leaders to look into this policy mandate and we remain committed to monitoring this situation and keeping our community informed on the latest.”
July 7, 2020