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Michael Crow
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ASU’s Crow sees ‘no logic’ in ICE policy for international students

(Arizona State University Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University’s president is scratching his head over a new federal policy that would force international students to leave the country in some cases.

Michael Crow told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement didn’t do its due diligence when deciding that international students taking only online courses won’t be able to remain in the country during the fall 2020 semester.

“[ICE] didn’t follow any administrative procedures which [it’s] required to do. There’s no logic to this,” Crow said. “These programs have been in place around the country for 100 years.

“There’s a million international students in the United States. It’s a principle American export of both our culture and everything about it. It’s an important part of the United States.”

International students currently enrolled in programs that are being taught solely online in the fall must depart the country or transfer to a school with in-person classes to remain in lawful status, according to the ICE policy.

In addition, the State Department will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools that are fully online for the fall semester nor will Customs and Border Protection allow them to enter the country.

ICE’s decision comes as coronavirus cases continue to soar in Arizona and in other parts of the country. Arizona health officials reported 4,057 new cases and 75 additional deaths on Thursday.

Crow said he’s concerned the policy is merely a way for the federal government to force universities’ hands into holding in-person classes.

“We did hear from some folks in the administration [Wednesday] that this is a method they are looking at to encourage universities to be physically open, which seems like a strange thing,” Crow said.

“All of us, all the major universities, including ASU are doing everything we can to be a full service in the healthiest way we possibly can, so this is some kind of ill-conceived, poorly thought out, last-minute exercise to force certain things to happen. It’s just not the way to run the railroad.”

ASU, which has more than 10,000 international students currently enrolled, is joining with other universities across the country to fight the policy, Crow said.

In an effort to be as prepared as possible with students back in classes or otherwise, ASU has been working on six different scenarios to continue higher learning in the state during the pandemic.

“The key part of our plan is COVID-19 is going to be a long term thing,” Crow added. “We’re at the top of the third inning, at best, in terms of a nine-inning game. And you’ll remember, baseball has no clock.”

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