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Statement from DePaul University on joining amicus brief in opposition to ICE policy modifications for international students

​​CHICAGO — DePaul University has been in contact with elected officials, and is closely following a legal challenge to policy modifications announced July 6 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding temporary exemptions for international students taking online classes this fall. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit July 8 seeking to block the new policy, and DePaul will join Northwestern University, University of Chicago and other institutions across the country in submitting an amicus brief in support of that legal challenge.

The new policy suspends temporary exemptions to existing regulations that were put in place in response to COVID-19. Those temporary measures allowed international students to take most or all of their courses online in fall 2020. The announcement July 6 by ICE would require international students to take at least one class in-person. The policy change is unnecessarily punitive and puts our international students at a major disadvantage.

DePaul University is fully engaged in developing multiple in-person and online teaching modalities for students, in order to allow maximum flexibility in an uncertain and constantly changing landscape. International students have the same needs, fears and concerns of all other students when considering how to continue their education in the fall and should be allowed the same flexibility, with their health and safety as primary concerns. 

The new ICE rule limits the flexibility we have in determining the best ways to provide safe options for our students, faculty and staff. The potential impact may be devastating to many students who will be forced to give up their studies. Many who leave the United States will not return.

America will surely lose more than student enrollment. We will lose the many talents and abilities that these students bring to our universities and to our economy. The countless contributions of international students in the fields of medicine, STEM, the arts and virtually every other academic discipline cannot be overstated. America is richer because of these students, and shall be poorer in many ways without them.

Our Catholic and Vincentian values call on all of us to act, and to care for each other, regardless of national origin. The actions we have taken to halt this rule are made in answer to the question, “What must we do?”

DePaul is exploring all possibilities to accommodate the needs of all students during this time, but with the overarching principle of safety. We will do what is in our power to do, consistent with our laws and with public health guidance. We urge those in positions of public authority to take any action appropriate to reverse this unwise and unfortunate decision.  


Media contact:
Carol Hughes
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