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ICE regulations need to be removed entirely | READER COMMENTARY

Duke freshman Feng Cong from Singapore and Cassie Lu from Thailand carry a box of their belongings to a pile as they move out of his dorm at Duke University. Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Durham, N.C.. Cong will be returning home to Singapore and Lu to Thailand since students are being asked to move out and complete classes online for the rest of the semester due to coronavirus. (Scott Sharpe/The News & Observer via AP)
Duke freshman Feng Cong from Singapore and Cassie Lu from Thailand carry a box of their belongings to a pile as they move out of his dorm at Duke University. Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Durham, N.C.. Cong will be returning home to Singapore and Lu to Thailand since students are being asked to move out and complete classes online for the rest of the semester due to coronavirus. (Scott Sharpe/The News & Observer via AP) (Scott Sharpe/AP)

As of July 14, ICE has agreed to “return to the status quo” regarding the rule that prohibits international students from taking strictly online curricula. The rule was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule dates to December 2002. Missing in the original text of the rule, and in all recent reporting on it, is any rationale for treating an international student differently from the U.S. citizen student at the next desk. This was “Scarlet Letter” mean-spirited xenophobia at its worst, perhaps linked to post-9/11 mindsets. The absence of a rationale for the rule at the time it was written speaks to the need to remove it permanently, not simply “suspend” it; and show that we can begin to undo the terrible pandemic of xenophobia that the White House has loosed upon our land.

Randy Barker

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The writer is an emeritus professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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