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Support for International Students at Caltech
July 10, 2020

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President and David A. Tirrell, Provost
Date: July 10, 2020
Re: Support for International Students at Caltech

Seminal achievements in science and engineering, and the ability of institutions like Caltech to respond to society's most critical challenges, depend on the contributions of ambitious and original scholars from around the world.

The recent announcement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on forthcoming guidance for F-1 students creates a state of significant uncertainty for our international students and undermines their ability to continue to contribute to the scientific and economic well-being of the United States. We write this evening to affirm unequivocally that international students are valued and essential members of the Caltech community and to assure all of our students of the Institute's firm support. We recognize the increased anxiety and personal and professional challenges that these proposed rules bring and we are working actively to oppose their implementation.

The July 6 directive, which is not yet final, proposes to require, among other restrictions, that international students attending schools adopting a mixture of online and in-person classes are enrolled in at least one in-person course to remain in country and to maintain their immigration status. Such action imperils students' well-being and academic progress, and disrupts the efforts of colleges and universities to responsibly manage the continued public health risk of COVID-19. The directive is inconsistent with earlier guidance issued by the government, has not taken into consideration the impact on schools and students who have made tremendous efforts to continue to provide and pursue their academic studies, and undermines the diversity of thought, background, and experience that we so value and is a hallmark of our community.

Earlier this week, our colleagues at Harvard and MIT filed an action seeking a restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the policy in the July 6 directive or promulgation of the policy as a Final Rule. On Monday, the Institute will file an amicus brief with partners from the Ivy League and other institutions in support of their lawsuit. We continue to explore other potential avenues of direct legal recourse in the California courts on behalf of our students and on behalf of our mission of forefront research and education. Any legal action we take will be in addition to our ongoing efforts to advocate for our students with members of Congress and more generally.

Caltech's plans for the fall term will allow for both online and in-person instruction and we will make sure that students have access to the courses that will allow them to remain enrolled. More information on our plans for the fall and the 2020-21 Academic Term will be available soon.

In the meantime, we encourage anyone with questions on this proposed rule or its potential implications for you and your family to contact International Student Programs at isp@caltech.edu.

There remain many unknowns in this quickly developing situation. We will provide clarifications as we obtain them and continue to advocate for our international students and our fundamental values.