IDAHO — UPDATE:
As we reported last Tuesday, the Trump administration revoked its formerly announced rule that would have put international students at risk for deportation by ICE agents if they studied in online-only classes.
As one international student prepares for his senior year at Boise State University, he says even with the regulation intact, he would have been eligible to stay because he is enrolled in some in-person classes. But, he says he's being careful and trying to stay positive in this time of uncertainty.
"Because I haven't heard about any changes from my university, so I decide -- I decide not to make any significant changes right now with my courses," said Tuan Nguyen, Vietnamese international student at BSU. "And I have learned how to deal with problems. And to me, I think that being optimistic and focused on the student career are my priorities right now."
Idaho News 6 reached out to the Boise State Communications Department to learn of their response to this development, but they were unreachable for comment.
After 18 state Attorneys General sued the Department of Homeland Security, a Massachusetts judge announced Tuesday that the Trump administration is agreeing to rescind its contentious rule, barring international students from living in the U.S. while studying at colleges and universities with online-only learning environments.
A representative from one Idaho college says they feel relieved about the change — and for more reasons than one.
“To see this reverse course so quickly is a really good day," said Joe Hughes, Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Idaho (C of I).
Hughes says international students at College of Idaho, a private liberal arts college in Caldwell, shared valid concerns over last week’s announcement.
“Of course our international students saw that, and went, ‘Oh this is awful,’ ya know? It caused a lot of anxiety in an environment that is already full of anxiety," said Hughes.
Even though C of I plans to have in-person instruction in the fall, Hughes says this decision was a big sigh of relief.
“Even if we do have to go to an online model, online delivery like we did in the spring, to be able to still support those international students on campus while they’re taking their classes, ya know, in their rooms and things like that, it’s still better for everyone than I think what ICE is proposing," said Hughes.
He says depending on circumstances, if students were to be deported, for some, it could mean the end of the road for their education.
“It’s not a done deal that, just because they leave the country, that they’re gonna continue their education,” said Hughes.
Hughes says as of last year, almost 18% of students at C of I were international students.
Their enrollment also brings in tuition to higher ed schools, like C of I, who need it during this COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, Hughes says that is not the only reason they’re in support of their students staying.
“That brings a richness to our campus that is beyond just the fact that, ya know, the more students we have, it’s a good financial model for the college," said Hughes.
He says C of I has students from about 90 different countries.
“That is amazing to have those kinds of perspectives within every single classroom," said Hughes.
Hughes also says, from a logistical standpoint, amid this time of tremendous reorganization and policy change, the faculty feel relieved.
“I just felt like it was good news," said Hughes.