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'We're Absolutely Being Targeted' | Universities Oppose Trump Administration Rule Requiring International Students To Take In-Person Classes Amid Pandemic

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- International students attending schools in America may have to leave the country for the upcoming fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ICE announced Monday if universities switch to all online learning this fall, international students will be forced to leave the country or risk deportation.

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The decision has left universities and international students scrambling to figure out what to do next.

"I think we're absolutely being targeted," said Johns Hopkins University student Jo Giardini. "I moved here from Vancouver I now face having to say goodbye."


"This is a policy being made by someone who hates foreigners," said Johns Hopkins University professor Sarah Parkinson.

Many schools like Harvard have moved all their classes online due to the pandemic. Hopkins said they may do the same, leaving some wondering whether this rule is to discourage that.

"Trying to push universities to open despite the pandemic," Parkinson said.

This policy previously allowed students to take online courses during the summer and spring semesters due to COVID. The University of Maryland's system said they're greatly concerned by these changes.

"This is an assault on academic freedom," Parkinson said.

Now, many students will have to leave or risk deportation.

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security's Deputy said, "we're trying to create circumstances that allows schools more options."

Both Harvard and MIT announced Wednesday they'll be suing the Trump administration over this rule.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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