Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
Yesterday, the Department of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement altered the guidelines of its Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for the 2020 fall semester. The most significant and troubling modification is the automatic loss of visas for international students who are enrolled only in online courses. The new rule, which overrides a temporary exemption put into place at the beginning of the pandemic, states that international students must take in-person or hybrid-model classes to retain their visas. If they do not comply, international students currently studying in the U.S. on F-1 visas will be required to depart the U.S., and international students presently living abroad will be prohibited from reentering the country.
As an institution whose mission is to serve our Dear Neighbors with love and without distinction, Chestnut Hill College stands against ICE’s decision and stands with our international student community. Amidst this global pandemic, it is reprehensible that our government leaders would choose to play politics and knowingly deprive international students of their education. Moreover, this decision is antithetical to the principles upon which this country was built; a country whose foundation was laid by immigrants who sought an opportunity to better themselves here in America.
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed lawsuits hoping to reverse the guidelines. Other institutions of higher education will be joining with them to support their endeavor.
To all our international students: Chestnut Hill College supports you and stands with you. We take pride in your membership in our campus community and we are grateful for your many contributions. The richness you add to the student life experience at Chestnut Hill is invaluable. We pledge to be in touch with our SEVP representatives and with our Senators and Congressional Representatives with the goal of offering a compelling narrative that will encourage the administration to reverse this irresponsible decision. Please know that our campus is and will always be your second home, and our community will always welcome you as family.
God’s peace and blessings,