In a big surprise move Tuesday, the DHS announced that it will reverse its decision regarding international students that would have forced them to leave the country if they did not enroll in in-person classes. As you may recall, the Administration was pushing a new policy that penalized individuals on student visas if their educational institution decided to hold on-line only classes. These students would have to switch schools or leave.
But on Tuesday, DHS said that it would no longer pursue the guidance, (for once) listening to the voices of almost 20 attorneys general and over 60 colleges and universities that had vowed to protect international students.
It is very surprising that the Administration changed it course, but it seems to go along with President Trump’s statement that upcoming actions on immigration will be “taking care of people from DACA.” Of course, all this is in sharp contrast to his actions in fighting DACA up to the Supreme Court but since elections are getting closer, he needs to do something to tout as an “immigration win.” It is interesting that he wants to accomplish this by an executive order; the same procedure that his Administration has decried President Obama for using to help the Dreamers.
In practical terms, the hope is that he will give some type of avenue for DACA recipients to apply for residency and eventually reach citizenship. If he was to be even more generous, he could bring back the DAPA program that was intended to help the parents of DACA members. It does not seem likely, but it never hurts to have hopes. For now, we have to wait and see what the conservative party members will do next to perhaps block what they call “illegal amnesty.”