LOS ANGELES - Daniel Berkovich is excited about being a student in America. He’s a junior and has been going to a small New York college called Baruch College.
Now he's been accepted at Columbia University in New York. That was a major accomplishment for him, but as an international student in finance, he thought his dreams were shot when the Trump Administration created a policy that could deport him.
But, before that… he was making plans to leave the US.
Berkovich says, “...This administration arbitrarily throwing me out of this country for no good reason. That was very stressful…. anger like I can’t even describe.”
He says he was already making plans to leave. "yes… I almost took a flight yesterday night but I’m here today and at the end of the day I am trying to do stuff in the proper way, the legal way and I have to comply with the government. I was actually afraid if I left the country I wouldn’t be able to come back.”
We caught up with Daniel here in Los Angeles visiting a friend.
He’s happy the decision came today since he might not have been here tomorrow.
A coalition of some 20 colleges and universities fought the battle filing lawsuits. USC, one of them, issued a statement saying, “We are thrilled that the government-backed down and rescinded its rule that would’ve revoked visas for international students.
Our international students are a vital part of the USC community and they deserve the right to continue their education without risk of deportation."
Essentially the administration was telling students if they weren’t going to have in-class studies at their colleges or universities but learn online - they didn’t need to be in the United States. That led to professors saying they’d teach their students in a classroom setting somewhere if they had too.
Raul Hinojosa, who teaches Chicano Studies at UCLA says he was relieved for his students.
He was one of those willing to teach in a classroom to keep the international students here. He says all of his students were freaked out. “It was a return to sanity," says Hinojosa,
"It made absolutely no sense from any type of policy perspective. It was clearly an opportunity to win some political points by pretending to be anti-immigrant. But, the consequences were so devastating for the short run disrupting universities and thousands and thousands of people's lives.”
Loyola Marymount Law professor Jessica Levinson says, "It was all of those lawsuits that likely made the Trump Administration blink!
“I think it's possible that the Trump administration decided that it wasn’t worth the legal war or didn’t think they could win the legal war.
There were a number of universities and students and other interested parties that filed lawsuits. My employer, Loyola Marymount, was one of the parties that joined an amicus brief in support of these suits saying the Trump Administration violated Federal Law in trying to ensure that foreign students would have to leave unless there were some in-classroom component to their education.”