Our government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s new rules forcing students from international homes who study in a college or university in the United States to leave the U.S. if their college is forced to teach entirely online because of COVID-19 is the latest racist and xenophobic effort we’ve witnessed under this administration.

I had the immense privilege of being born here in the United States and was lucky enough to have a transformative life experience attending Loras College — one that I am grateful for every day. I know the opportunity that comes from holding a degree from a U.S. institution, thus I can understand why so many seek higher education here. I also know the rhetoric that’s too often said of immigrants, that they come to this country and “steal jobs” or somehow are a burden to society. None of that is true. What is true is that no matter what immigrants do — whether they cross the border by foot, or receive an F-1 visa to study in the U.S. — they’re given obstacles versus opportunities.

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Let students study and let them have their shot at earning a degree and transforming lives. Unfortunately, our country’s leaders don’t see or purposely ignore the brilliance international students bring to our society. We owe it to our values, to finally align our actions toward them and let international students study. We owe it to our values to stand up against racism and bigotry.