In a memo shared with faculty from the MIT International Scholar’s Office, director Penny Rosser said, "The purpose of the DHE/ICE site visit is to confirm that the employer has sufficient resources and supervisory personnel to effectively provide the training, and that the foreign national is appropriately engaged in that activity.”
In a statement to Boston 25 News, the college said: “MIT has been clear about the value of our global community and of the free flow of scientific ideas. We are grateful for the dedication, imagination and perseverance of every scholar here at MIT.”
A school spokesperson said ICE is permitted to do this because of a new rule that affects those trained in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields who are part of what's known as STEM Opt, a training program for international scholars. Those scholars received the memo after faculty members.
MIT student Miguel Tulla is from Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, but has lots of international student friends. He says it’s better that the memo went out, but wishes those affected would have been first to get it.
“I guess it’s better than nothing,” Tulla said. “In my opinion it’s better that they had sent this memo than for it to just be nobody knowing and ICE getting here without previous warning.”
MIT declined our request for an on-camera interview about this, but said they’re sending a similar note to scholars affected by the ICE visits.
We did reach out to ICE first thing Friday morning, but did not hear back by the time of this posting.