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UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO STUDENT ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON RECENT ICE RESTRICTIONS ON NON-IMMIGRANT STUDENTS

The University at Buffalo Student Association stands in solidarity with our international student community which is currently under attack by the Federal Government and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The new direction sent out by ICE instructs international students whose campuses have moved lectures entirely online for the upcoming school year to return to their native countries.

UB international students make up roughly 20.7% of our campus population, representing 107 different countries; there is no doubt that UB is a major hub for international students in NYS  and across the country. International students as of 2017-2018 had a total economic impact of $39 billion supporting 455,622 jobs. International students also pay an excessive amount in tuition and fees, with the national average for public four-year universities being around $26,290 per annul with barely any grants or access to loans. Despite the financial struggle, international students are also victims of a lot of mental struggles such as homesickness, lack of job availability due to immigration restrictions and language barriers as well as social injustices stemming from racism and xenophobia. It is inherent our international student population is protected and supported, especially in the middle of a pandemic where these struggles become more prominent. Unfortunately, ICE has chosen to do the absolute opposite by adding to the burden by forcing students to return home. These actions are quite frankly repugnant, disgusting, and hateful.

Furthermore, these actions are displeasing because it of the push on higher education institutions to risk the health of international students by disallowing students to complete their programs within the United States. With the pandemic and many borders being closed to the U.S. due to it being a hot-spot for the virus that has plagued our world, many students wouldn’t even be able to return home but still potentially face the consequences for remaining in the country. Even more so, it will be logistically grim and awful for some students to complete their coursework from their home countries either through technological difficulties and time difference gaps. There are so many points to be made as to why international students should be allowed to stay; unfortunately, we still see the constant maltreatment prevail even in the middle of a global pandemic.

I want to reassure all international students that SA stands with you, and we will make sure we do what we can to advocate against this injustice. We are working with the University to make sure the necessary steps are taken to protect our international student community should this rule persist. As an international student myself, I understand the frustration that many of you might be feeling, and I empathize with you all during this time. While we do wait and hope adjustments are made to these policies, there are ways we as a UB community as a whole can play our part in getting through these unwarranted inconveniences, most notably our U.S. citizen population. The link in our Instagram bio will contain petitions, phone calls, and email scripts to send to your congress reps. I strongly urge our non-international students to serve as allies and stand firmly with our international student community as we are a campus that thrives and excels through its diversity in culture. When any one of our communities is under attack, we are ALL attacked.

With Sincere Empathy,

 

Yousouf Amolegbe

2019 - 2020 UB Student Association President

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