UMD GSG issues rally cry to protect international classmates after ICE announcement

The Graduate Student Government's executive committee released a statement Thursday about the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s new guidance. (Angela Roberts/For The Diamondback)

The University of Maryland’s Graduate Student Government is calling on state, local and federal officials to help international students at this university, according to a statement from the body’s executive committee.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that students on F-1 and M-1 visas may not enroll in a full online course load and remain in the country. Now, the GSG says, universities are being forced to choose between their students’ health and their students’ ability to succeed. 

Students currently in the U.S. will likely be forced to leave amid a pandemic, the statement read, and students who have already made travel arrangements will no longer be able to return. 

“Students who were looking forward to beginning or continuing their education in the United States are now uncertain what their future holds,” the statement read. “All of this for a policy that does not appear to have tangible benefits for anyone.”

[UMD President Pines shows solidarity with international students following ICE guidance]

Graduate students will be hit twice as hard, the statement read. In the spring of 2019, more than half of this university’s international students were graduate students. Now, the GSG fears that graduate students who have graduate assistantships will not be able to return — and, consequently, lose their employment.

“International graduate students are some of the brightest minds of their generation,” the statement read. “And they want to come to the United States to share their ideas and brilliance with us through teaching and research. More than that, though, they are classmates and friends.”

The GSG also praised the efforts already underway at the university to help these students and encouraged the university to continue with that work.

“The Graduate Student Government Executive Committee is committed to doing whatever we can to help international graduate students at the University of Maryland continue on their academic journeys,” the body wrote.

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