Stephen Miller has been targeting students who seem foreign to him since he was a teenager in Santa Monica, California: ordering classmates to speak English, attacking school efforts to help students of color, and penning articles about the alleged dangers of diversity. “The nation of E Pluribus Unum threatens to be fractured across ethnic lines by racial animus and divisive multiculturalism,” he wrote in college.
From the West Wing as Trump’s senior advisor on immigration, Miller has repeatedly pushed for actions that punished young foreigners and had little, if anything, to do with national security: ending protections for those brought to the U.S. as children, separating migrant kids from asylum-seeking parents, jailing Central American teenagers and deporting young people fleeing persecution.
Given Miller’s style, it was no surprise that the administration took aim at the more than one million international students who take classes in the U.S. and pour billions of dollars into the economy every year while culturally enriching the country. On Wednesday, the government revoked its plan—hatched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement July 6—after lawsuits and pushback from hundreds of prestigious colleges and universities. The move would have stripped international students of their visas if their classes went fully online this fall because of the coronavirus. It would have forced talented young people to find a way home in the middle of the global pandemic. But it’s difficult for international students to breathe a sigh of relief, despite the government’s back-tracking. Their limbo is far from over, and more plans targeting them are in the works.
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