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Cuccinelli says rule forcing international students to return home will 'encourage schools to reopen'

Cuccinelli says rule forcing international students to return home will 'encourage schools to reopen'

Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said Tuesday that the department's provision requiring international students to take in-person classes or return home for the fall semester will encourage U.S. schools to reopen campuses.

In an interview with CNN, Cuccinelli said that if schools do not reopen physical campuses, "there isn't a reason" for international students to remain in the U.S.

"This is now setting the rules for one semester, which we'll finalize later this month, that will, again, encourage schools to reopen," the secretary said.

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Cuccinelli also suggested that the provision, which has yet to be finalized, was still more flexible than the department's current rules, which allow international students to take at most one online class per semester.

"We're expanding the flexibility massively to a level never done before so that schools can use hybrid models," he continued.

"Anything short of 100 percent online" would be acceptable to allow foreign students to stay in the U.S., Cuccinelli added.

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While the department's current rules do allow for international students to take one online course per semester, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) had moved in the spring to allow international students to remain in the U.S. while taking spring and summer semester classes online.

SEVP said in its announcement Monday that those who do not comply with the new regulation could face "immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings."

President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE's 2016 opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction Jill Biden redefines role of first lady MORE, blasted the move on Twitter, labeling it a "cruel, unnecessary, and counterproductive to America’s long-term interests."