ATLANTA - International students are faced with uncertainty about their education in the US following Monday's announcement by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It states international students will have to leave the country or switch to another university if their current university does not offer in-person classes.
Students could risk deportation if they don't comply.
Gabriela Lagos, a senior at Emory University said the news was hard to process. She is one of thousands of international students on campus.
"We're no longer wondering will I be able to grab coffee from my favorite coffee spot on campus. We're wondering if I'll ever be able to be on campus again," Lagos said.
Emory University has announced a hybrid model for the upcoming semester, offering both online and in-person classes.
Students are now trying to squeeze any in-person class into their schedules.
Because of staggered enrollment Lago said there might not even be spots available in the in-person classes for underclassmen.
While Emory is offering in-person and online classes for now, that could change if the coronavirus cases continue to rise.
In addition, if students are forced to go back to their home counties, some of them won't be able to because of travel bans and closed borders.
"Having to now plan my schedule around making sure that I will have in-person classes definitely puts an extra amount of stress and an extra amount of uncertainty. Like what does this mean for my personal health? What does this mean for the health of my roommates or my friends? " Lagos said.
Lagos said news only adds to an already stressful time as they try to navigate the next school year during the coronavirus outbreak.
The diploma and the life in America are things Lagos has worked for even before stepping foot on the university campus three years ago.
She went to an American school in Honduras which prepared her for college in the US.
"It's just exhausting to fight for something for so long and see it taken away right when we're right there," Lagos said.
She said this is the latest hurdle to achieving a goal they've worked so hard for.
"The international seniors right now are about to graduate in the middle of a global pandemic, global recession with restrictions on their work visas, and now restrictions on their ability to study. Do not let our dreams die because we share your same dream. Our passport may not be American. Our papers may not be American but we are just as patriotic as you," Lagos said.
Harvard University and MIT have filed a federal lawsuit challenging this new rule.
The lawsuit seeks to prevent federal immigration authorities from enforcing the rule.