I’m sorry that this might be emotional. It is meant to be emotional. I’m disappointed, outraged. Everything sucks, and I can’t stay silent anymore. I came to the US as an international student in my junior year of high school. My family came to work here, so I was able to avoid some hassle of holding an F-1 visa. But I also have many friends who are studying in the US with an F-1 visa. Some of them chose to come to the US themselves; others are sent here by their parents. But no matter what, they are all hardworking individuals dreaming of a bright future, just like you and me. I am lucky enough to have my family come with me, but many of us came here alone, without the company of our family and friends. We came to this country in the hope of a better education. However, the country, the system has failed us again and again. Many of us couldn’t go to public schools and have to go to private schools for 20 or even 60 times the tuition that an American would pay for high school education. We couldn’t apply for most financial aids because the stereotype is that all international students come from wealthy backgrounds. Plus, they simply don’t want to give money to international kids. We are judged differently from others during college admission, and such judgments are often discriminating. We are banned from getting jobs in the US because they don’t want us to compete with Americans. Even when we go to colleges, the countless restrictions make getting a job as an international student extremely hard. All kinds of paper works make things as simple as getting an internship feel like you are fighting a trade war with the US.
Nonetheless, many of us managed through those hardships. Many of us went to top schools, succeeded, and even became famous scholars in their fields. International students and scholars have become an indispensable part of US academia. Many significant contributions were made by teams of international scholars, including research on COVID vaccines and the Johns Hopkins COVID map. Now, what? Now, they are kicking us all out. They (ICE) said if your school is switching to online classes, you must either transfer to a school with in-person instruction or leave the country. They are simply telling all the international students to either abandon their studies or wait to be deported. I don’t know why they made such stupid regulations. Probably it’s because they are all xenophobic racists doing whatever they want without considering the impacts. Or it could be the President rage tweeting “ALL SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THIS FALL” and basically holding all international students hostage to force the schools to reopen. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll never find out why, but does it even matter? The very fact that they are doing this to all those innocent students is inhumane and totally unacceptable. This very fact tells us what kind of agency ICE is—the same agency that illegally detained immigrants and separated families. I think it also tells us something about the current administration and the country as a whole.
ICE, under the current administration, has grown even more inhumane, cruel, corrupt. Under the current administration, they are allowed to do whatever they want and, more importantly, carry out the President’s racist, xenophobic, nationalism ideologies. To be honest, it probably sounds super hypocritical for me to even talk about this right now. After all, I decided to leave and go to Canada instead. But to me, I feel the same anxiety and distress felt by many international students just by living in this country. Such experiences will remain a part of my life and memory wherever I go. I stand with all international students, and I will always do. I don’t want to say words like sympathize. Words like that make it sound like they did something wrong. They did not. At the end of the day, after all these, I think what I really wanted to say is that international students in the US deserve to be treated better and, at the very least, should be treated as humans. They didn’t come to compete or to steal. They came here with a dream. For us, it is also important to be aware of the struggles of many international students and all the injustices that have used international students as targets. Next time, when we brag about US education, spend some time thinking about who contributed the most to the US academia—the same group of people that the government is trying so hard to get rid of right now. I stand with international students in the US, and I support abolishing ICE. Thank you to everyone who read through this. It means a lot to me.