Usually when there is an alien population with special temporary immigration benefits, such as Temporary Protected Status, the government renews that status year after year, long after the temporary problem – such as a hurricane or earthquake – is over. Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans are in the U.S. legally because of such decisions; without them they would be illegals.
With that in mind I decided to see what would happen to the special rules for F-1 students from Libya that were created last year.
At that time ICE, which handles such matters, decided that the revolution in Libya might make it hard for some Libyan parents to send money to their college-age kids in the U.S., so the rules were changed, temporarily, to allow those F-1 students to take fewer classes, and work off-campus longer hours till the emergency was over.
I had no objection to the decision but wondered if it would terminate, as it was supposed to, on December 31. The special rules can be seen here.
By December 31 the war had been over by a couple of months, our side had won, and the oil was about to start flowing again at pre-war levels, bringing funds to Libya in general. Libya, at this point, was in much better shape in terms of violence than either Egypt or Syria, for whose students in the U.S. there were no such special arrangements.
The question was, would ICE notice, or would it extend the special war-time rules for those students?
I have not yet seen a notice on the decision, but a young man from the ICE press office, in reply to a question of mine, just told me that the special deal for Libyan students had, in fact, expired, on Dec. 31.
Small-scale good news, to be sure, but any burst of rationality from DHS and ICE is to be noticed and treasured.