July 10, 2020

Statement on ICE Change Impacting International Students

Dear LC Community,

The surprise proposed action announced earlier this week from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would force international students to leave the United States if the colleges they attend are providing exclusively online or remote instruction.

We vigorously oppose the new policy. It is a reflection of the worst in policy-making: cruel, cynical, and counterproductive to both the mission of American higher education and the reality of learning during a once-in-a-century global pandemic.

While we work with fellow institutions of higher learning and our elected officials for guidance about the policy, we are confident that our plans for the upcoming academic year, which include a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning, will meet the new requirements. And even if conditions require us to increase online teaching, we are confident there will be sufficient in-person education to protect our international students.

Lewis & Clark College is a community that commits itself to diversity and sustainability as dimensions of a just society. For decades, we have welcomed each of our international students as a full member of the Lewis & Clark community. We will continue to do so. We will continue to provide our international students with a safe and supportive environment for their academic and personal growth. These students, who come from more than 50 countries, bring valuable, varied, and fresh perspectives to Palatine Hill, benefitting their peers and their faculty, and enriching the broader campus community and the region.

Staff of the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) will be advising both new and returning international students about the details of the new ICE proposed rule and how to comply with its requirements. Questions or concerns from our community about the new rule can be directed to Brian White, director of ISS, at bdwhite@lclark.edu and 503-768-7307. While that work is underway, Lewis & Clark intends to join an amicus brief being filed in support of Harvard University and MIT’s temporary restraining order motion filed this week

The challenges we face–as a campus, as a nation, as an interconnected and interdependent world–necessitate a global response. There is no better way to prepare future leaders for the challenges ahead than fostering international education and cultivating cross-border connections. I know this not just as an educator and lifelong higher-education administrator, but as a former international student myself.


Wim Wiewel