Local universities assist international students following ICE announcement

Pandemic and University Enrollment

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Some local universities are doing what they can to help international students facing possible deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that international students must leave the country, or risk deportation if their school will be taught fully online in the fall.

“ICE basically indicated that they would be doing away with the exceptions that they had been making to in person class requirements for international students,” Marco Balducci, an immigration attorney who also works with the Tulane Legal Assistance Program said.ICE initially suspended in person class requirments during the pandemic.

"Now, they are revoking that suspension and trying to say it's time to go back to things as normal," Balducci said.

The director of Loyola's Center for International Education says many students have reached out for guidance.

"I think we're still waiting for the implications become a little bit more clear to us, and we're also of course trying to actively communicate with our students, continue to follow the updates," Mariette Thomas said.

A spokesperson with the university says 65% of classes are part of their "Hyflex" model, which means some instruction has been offered in person for months.

"We are well positioned I think, to continue to support our students in light of the guidance that was issued this week. most of our international students, it looks like are already enrolled in courses with an in person component," Thomas said.

She said about 90 international students are affected by the guidance.

University of New Orleans President John Nicklow says they are planning to offer a hybrid course model as well.

"Therefore, we have not needed to make drastic changes to our course delivery plans in order to adapt to the new federal guidance. we will continue to work with our international students—who are treasured members of our university community—to ensure that their fall schedules meet the new requirements," He said in a statement.

"We have over 7,000 international students in the state, so really quite a lot, and of course, they contribute a lot to our economy and our state and support a lot of jobs in Louisiana," Thomas said.

Tulane University President Michael Fitts says their over 1,300 international students will be able to stay on campus as they return to in person classes in the fall.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.