"This Trump administration policy turns our universities into hotspots of the disease. This policy is just unlawful, it's dangerous and it's morally reprehensible," Becerra said in a virtual news conference, alongside representatives from California Community Colleges and California State University.
The guidance issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received pushback from universities and lawmakers who argue it puts students in a precarious position and threatens to put them in harm's way in the throes of a pandemic. Earlier Thursday, nearly 100 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, urging the department to rescind the policy.
"ICE's announcement of their plans to force out or deport international students who remain at U.S. colleges and universities and who are taking a full online course load is cruel and unconscionable," the letter reads. Signatories include Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Visa requirements for students have always been strict and coming to the US to take online-only courses has been prohibited. ICE maintained that prohibition in its guidance, while providing some flexibility for hybrid models, meaning a mix of online and in-person classes.
The agency suggested that students currently enrolled in the US consider other measures, like transferring to schools with in-person instruction.--CNN