German students studying in the United States have appealed to their government for help after being threatened with expulsion from the country under new pandemic-era rules.
“We are counting on your support,” reads an open letter addressed to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and signed by almost 100 current, future, and former German students in the US.
On 6 July US immigration authorities announced foreign students attending universities offering online-only teaching due to the pandemic must transfer to another institution or leave the country.
Foreign students with a place at a university exclusively teaching online from next semester will not be allowed to enter the country.
The letter, published on Friday, slammed the US for “an increasingly xenophobic immigration policy.”
It also asked Germany to “resolutely oppose the latest visa regulations in the interests of the European and international student body in the USA.”
“The move not only threatened students’ futures but was “a serious attack on international academic exchange and knowledge transfer, as well as the freedom of teaching and research,’’ the letter stated.
Signatories to the letter voiced concern that Trump was trying to pressure universities into holding classes in person, even if this was not safe during the pandemic.
The German Foreign Ministry issued a response, noting the US rule change and acknowledging the prerogative of all states to “take appropriate measures according to their particular situation” in the pandemic.