"I am extremely disappointed in the rule issued yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security that prohibits international students from remaining in the United States if they attend classes as part of an online-only curriculum for the Fall 2020 semester. Our international students are a vital part of The University of New Mexico, conducting important research and contributing to our classroom culture. They are also a vibrant part of our University community and our overall Lobo DNA. Their absence from our classrooms, labs, and community would diminish us all.

Further, during a pandemic, when the health and safety of our students is of the utmost concern, it is irresponsible to deny any university or its students the option of going entirely to remote instruction in the interest of public health and safety. This mandate issued by DHS hamstrings The University of New Mexico and other colleges and universities in our ability to provide a quality education in the safest and most appropriate learning environment."

Garnett S. Stokes
UNM President

Information from the UNM Global Education Office:

  1. International students in the U.S. contribute to the diversity of our institutions and our communities. They share new perspectives that enhance the education and world view of domestic students. This is true for the U.S. in general and for UNM.
  2. International students also make a huge contribution to the economy through their expenditures on rent, living expenses and tuition.
  3. Statistics about international student’s contribution to the US economy from NAFSA’s Economic Value Tool can be found here.
    • International students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2018-2019 academic year. 
    • In New Mexico, that is $91 million and 835 jobs.
    • For UNM alone, that is $43.9 million supporting 457 jobs.
  4. As of fall 2019, UNM was home to 1100 international students from 100 countries studying in bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programs or as international exchange students on study abroad from one of our international partner institutions.
  5. More than 600 of these students are graduate students, many of whom teach undergraduate courses, act as graders or are actively involved in research activities at UNM.
  6. International students live in Albuquerque and contribute to the economy and the community. They have families, children in school, leases, cars and other commitments that are not easy to quickly extricate themselves from.
  7. International students participate in UNM Athletics and are on many of the University’s competitive teams such as basketball, track and field, swimming, volleyball, tennis and golf.
  8. The new rule announced by DHS allows for hybrid academic models, but requires that students not be enrolled in entirely online classes. 
  9. At the moment, it seems that UNM international students will be able to comply with these rules. However, if the University shifts to entirely online classes due to the pandemic, and this new rule stands, students would have to leave the U.S. or transfer to an institution that offers in-person instruction.
  10. A temporary final rule is scheduled to be published this week. It is unclear if the language in the rule will be exactly the same as in the announcement already made by DHS or will contain further restrictions.
  11. UNM will need to reissue immigration documents to every current and incoming international students to indicate our method of instruction.