Local colleges, international students affected by ICE announcement

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — The Monday announcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) impacts international students studying at local institutions of higher learning.

The rule change by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program essentially undoes a springtime exemption that allowed international students to stay in the U.S. when coursework transitioned to online platforms because of coronavirus.

Students in the U.S. on student visas cannot stay stateside for online-only coursework. They are required to complete primarily face-to-face classes. If their schools are online-only for fall, those students will either have to transfer schools or return to their countries of origin to complete the online learning.

β€œI was a little scared at first,” Pol Monells, a USC Upstate international student from Spain said upon hearing the news. His father had sent him an article about the change.

“I have friends from other countries that also study in the U.S. and are student athletes that… weren’t as lucky as I am,” Monells said. “They won’t be able to come back to the U.S.”

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