You got to hand it to those Berkeley kids. They can come up with some of the most creative and imaginative ways to break the law.
Their latest escapade involves trying to create a fake, in-person class for foreign students who would otherwise be kicked out of the country because their student visa now doesn’t allow for taking exclusively online classes.
A new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulation prohibits students in the United States on an F-1 visa from remaining in the country unless they are taking some classes that meet in person. The rule is meant to address the huge problem of students overstaying their visas and remaining illegally in the U.S.
About 68,000 students overstayed their visas in 2018 alone. It’s part of the larger visa overstay problem that includes those whose visas have expired. That number varies from year to year, but it’s around 600,000 visa overstays.
The Berkeley students might find it amusing to troll ICE with their fake class. But it’s still immigration fraud for those who plan it and those who knowingly take part.
The plan, which would likely run afoul of laws against immigration fraud if enacted, was reportedly hatched hours after ICE announced Monday that foreign students in the U.S. are required to take some in-person instruction or they will not be allowed to legally remain in the country.
“berkeley students are creating a 1-unit, in-person, student-run class to help international students avoid deportation due to the new ICE regulations,” a Berkeley Urban Studies student wrote in a now-deleted tweet, which has been archived by Google. “love my school sometimes.”
The tweet, which was shared more than 25,000 times before it was taken down, linked to a longer post stating that a member of the UC Berkeley community had “found a faculty member who will sponser [sic] this.” The post noted that a syllabus was being drafted, and that the course was “ONLY for students who are international and need a physical component to remain in the United States.”
The correct course of action, of course, would be to go to court and pursue your cause using the legal system. But faking out ICE is so much more fun and, like Berkley students have been doing for more than 50 years, if you can’t have fun while attacking the system, it’s hardly worth it.