HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University say they plan to resume in-person classes this fall.
The decision helps international students in Hawaii facing deportation under a new federal rule.
This week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced international students will be forced to leave the U.S. if their schools operate entirely online this fall.
The announcement was made the same time that Harvard and other Ivy league schools said they were going entirely online to keep their students, faculty, and staff safe.
Local immigration attorney Clare Hanusz said the new mandate is politically motivated.
“It’s using international students as a group of pawns on a chess board to try to force universities to remain open to in-person classes,” Hanusz said.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa says it will be offering a hybrid model for the fall 2020 semester.
Leaders at Hawaii Pacific University say they’re planning for in-person instruction when the fall term starts on August 24th and they are ready to welcome the more than 300 international students intending to enroll.
“We’re very nimble and flexible and we can really be personalized in our individual accommodations for whatever students might need,” said Senior Vice President Jennifer Walsh.
The rule is currently being challenged by several Ivy League schools on the mainland.
On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Ed Case and several other members of Congress sent a letter to the Trump administration urging that it abandon these proposed changes.
“We have to hope that the courts will step in and put a hold on this absolutely mind-blowing ridiculously stupid move by the Trump administration to use international students as a pawn in the re-election game,” said Hanusz.
Chaminade University declined to comment.