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New immigration rule to affect 50 NMC students

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FIFTY foreign students of Northern Marianas College are affected by a new federal immigration rule.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, non-immigrant students attending universities and colleges that shifted to online teaching may not stay in the United States.

Earlier, President Donald Trump said the U.S. will not issue visas to foreign students whose schools will offer full online courses for the fall semester.

“The new rule from ICE leaves about 50 of our students with few options,” NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico said.

NMC currently has 1,200 students.

“Given that we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the college is offering most of its classes in the Fall 2020 semester through an online platform to maximize social distancing and safety of our students and employees,” Eliptico said.

He added that NMC is conducting online classes for the summer semester, but for the upcoming fall semester, the college plans to implement a blended learning approach: online classes with in-person sessions if required.

Eliptico said the new federal immigration rule may require some foreign students of NMC to return to their home countries, possibly lose their visas, and not complete their studies at the college.

“Nonetheless, we will help our students and see how it will be possible to continue their studies while still complying with the mandates and reporting requirements of the new rule,” Eliptico said.

NMC counselors are reaching out to the affected students to see what the college can do to help them, he added.

On the mainland U.S., Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the U.S. government to prevent it from enforcing the new immigration rule.

The lawsuit stated that “universities and students have been planning the 2020-2021 academic year for months in reliance on ICE’s recognition that the Covid-19 pandemic compelled allowing international students to remain in the country even if their studies had been moved entirely online. ICE’s rescission of that recognition failed to consider numerous weighty interests, and is itself arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion.”

NMC students who have any questions about this issue are asked to contact Christine Inos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 237-6779.

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