Steve King Protest 4

Young protesters participate in the #CloseTheCamps protest outside Rep. Steve King's office on July 2. Protesters demonstrated outside King's office for the closing of U.S. immigrant detention centers. 

Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen sent a letter to Iowa’s congressional delegation condemning the recent ICE ruling regarding international students Monday evening. 

Last week, the Trump administration announced that international students would have to leave the country or transfer schools if their institutions were only doing online courses in the fall.

“Let me reiterate Iowa State’s support for our international students,” Wintersteen said. “The ruling by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is arbitrary and troubling, creating uncertainty for students during a global pandemic.” 

Wintersteen joined presidents from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa in sending a letter to Iowa’s congressional delegation expressing concerns about the impact on students.

“We should be making it easier, not harder, for our international students to be welcomed and valued members of our campuses and society,” the letter stated. “This guidance creates uncertainty for our international students both in their ability to maintain their visa status, and when they would be allowed back into the U.S.”

The letter also referenced the administrative impact that COVID-19 has had on universities and that “the administrative burden for institutions to issue new I-20s and the [Student and Exchange Visitor Information System] records for all international students is problematic and unrealistic.”

“This ruling comes a mere five weeks before the start of the fall semester, as our institutions are already fully engaged in preparing the safest living, learning, and working environments possible.”

Going on, the letter addresses the financial losses the pandemic has had on the institutions and clarifies the need for more flexibility, not less, and calls for immediate rescission of the ruling.

When the ruling was first announced last week, Wintersteen sent an email to the student addressing it. The email stated that Iowa State would be doing everything possible to guarantee that international students are able to continue their education at Iowa State. 

“Again, I want to let our international students, faculty and staff know that we value their contributions to our campus,” she said. “Iowa State University will do all we can to support our international students to continue their academic progress this fall.”

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