FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9th, 2020 -- The Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) is disheartened by the most recent guidance released by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), restricting nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 international students from completing online coursework while remaining in the U.S. This guidance comes amidst several other nonimmigrant visa program restrictions directly affecting the Language Enterprise.
This ban revokes pre-existing temporary exemptions made by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) earlier this spring to allow international students to remain in the U.S. while transitioning to online classes. As schools and students continue to plan for the upcoming academic year during the volatility of the COVID-19 world pandemic, federal guidance should allow institutions the flexibility to support the health and well-being of international students.
In today’s global society, an education that includes meaningful intercultural experience is more important than ever. Student exchange programs play a crucial role in creating this valuable experience for both international and domestic students, providing students with the opportunity to develop mutual understanding of cultural diversity, enhance world language skills, and foster a sense of global community.
In response to this guidance, JNCL-NCLIS urges the Administration to rescind this decision and allow SEVP to continue exemptions enacted in March 2020, allowing international students to complete their coursework in the U.S. regardless of format of instruction.
Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) represent the Language Enterprise to the US government and business community. Our membership includes over 130 organizations, which employ more than 300,000 language professionals globally. Together, we form an all-inclusive network and encompass all areas of the language field: exchanges, research, technology, translation, interpretation, localization, testing and more. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.
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