A handful of House Republicans lobbied to reopen a loophole allowing foreign students to stay in the United States for taking online courses at colleges and universities, Breitbart News has learned.
This month, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced it would enforce federal law that dictates that foreign students are not rewarded F-1 student visas for the purpose of attending online courses.
“[Foreign] students will not be permitted to enter or remain in the United States to attend such schools but they are not barred from continuing to attend all classes at these schools from abroad,” DHS officials wrote.
On Tuesday, President Trump’s administration dropped the requirement for F-1 foreign student visa holders to attend in-person classes, reopening the loophole allowing them to stay in the U.S.
Four House Republicans circulated a letter to fellow lawmakers, pleading with the administration to reopen the loophole.
The letter, obtained by Breitbart News, has been signed by:
- Rob Woodall (R-GA)
- Peter King (R-NY)
- John Curtis (R-UT)
- Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
“Under the new guidance, foreign students will not be granted visas to enroll this fall in colleges and universities offering courses only online,” the Republicans wrote. “Consequently, international students currently enrolled in these institutions must transfer to another institution, leave the country, or face deportation.”
“This guidance will deal a long-term blow to our collegiate communities and deter international students from living and working in these towns while obtaining higher education degrees in the future, hampering growth and innovation,” they continued. “We oppose this new guidance and respectfully request ICE reverts back to the original March 13 guidance governing F-1 visa holders.”
The full letter can be read here:
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sued the administration to demand that online-only foreign students be given F-1 student visas.
The F-1 student visa program — as well as the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa program that delivers foreign graduates to businesses at discounted rates — is a cash cow for American colleges and universities.
Every year, nearly one million foreign students who fill seats in undergraduate and graduate programs provide at least $9 billion to U.S. university systems. These foreign students often pay three times as much in tuition and fees as their American counterparts.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.