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Cypriot students in US relieved after Trump drops deportation plans

US President Donald Trump’s government has dropped plans to deport international students whose classes are to be taught entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s U-turn comes just one week after the policy announcement and after important universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University sued the government over the proposed plan, calling it “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion,” with dozens of other universities also signing a court brief to support the action.

Of the roughly 425 Cypriot students currently enrolled in universities in the US, however, the majority have already returned to the island for their summer break, Anna Argyrou of StudyUSA, a company providing information and support to Cypriots who wish to study in the US, told the Cyprus Mail.

“In addition to that, in all fairness, the Cypriot students who decided to remain in the US were not really worried about Trump’s proposed plan, they knew it had no grounds and would not go ahead,” she added.

“To be honest, I received more phone calls from concerned parents than concerned students, who, in the end, turned out to be right.”

District Judge Allison Burroughs in Massachusetts said the plan was overturned thanks to a policy implemented in March, amid the virus outbreak, which allows international students to attend their classes virtually if necessary and remain legally in the country on student visas.

Large numbers of foreign students travel to the US to study every year and are a significant source of revenue for universities.

In the last academic year, the US had more than one million international students – according to the Institute of International Education.

Of these students, almost half were Chinese, 48 per cent, and 26 per cent were Indians.

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