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Banana Republic

The Trump administration's latest order has tipped my circle over the proverbial edge. The order aims to deport foreign students if their university chooses to switch to online delivery of courses due to Covid. The Trump-Miller assault on the law continues unabated.

This government gave visas to foreign students under one set of circumstances and now they are altering the rules of engagement by a 180 degrees on spurious grounds. The students didn't plan the pandemic. They are not responsible for the economic meltdown. They are not masterminding the shift to online. The universities are switching to keep everyone safe! That isn't palatable because it flies against re-election chances.

The administration is motivated by wholesale deportation of valid visa holders thereby lowering potential immigration in the future and forcing universities to return to normal thereby relegating the pandemic to the bin. Suspend disbelief to realize that they checked two boxes for their base with one order.

Take a moment to digest the facts.

First, foreign students contribute 45B to the US economy every year and subsidise education for domestic students. What part of that is hard to understand in a market-driven system?!

Second, even before the pandemic, bright minds have been choosing to go to other countries for education and research and that is not good for our country. International student enrollment fell by 10% between 2018 and 2019. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has taken out an insurance policy for 60M USD to help buffer the impact from reduced enrollment by foreign students. How many public institutions can afford to do this before they go under?

The share of foreign student enrollment is anything but trivial.

Harvard and MIT have sued the US government over the latest order. The Massachusetts Attorney General is preparing a lawsuit, as well. I wish them godspeed so that these lawsuits land in SCOTUS in days instead of weeks and I pray that John Roberts will continue to be the voice of reason to stop this administration's flagrant disregard of the law.

I used to think that Trump needs to go. Now I am convinced the whole asylum he has created with his cronies - Cotton, Graham, McConnell, Cruz, and numerous other spineless, arrogant, unpatriotic, power-hungry, race-baiting, base-bolstering cowards up for re-election - needs to go.

I could say "unbelievable" but nothing is anymore in our banana republic.

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