After colleges sue, ICE backs down from student visa rule change

Universities take new Trump rule on foreign students to court

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Last Monday, Harvard University and MIT filed a federal lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, calling the restrictions "arbitrary and capricious". If the judge upholds the guideline proposed by ICE, universities will have until Wednesday to notify ICE whether their classes will be taking place entirely online. Although Notre Dame will be holding classes in-person this fall, the injustice of the policy compelled the University to join the brief.

Folt noted that after the directive was issued, USC immediately began reaching out to bring together some of the leading research institutions, liberal arts colleges and public universities in the western United States to block it from being enforced.

The lawsuit challenges a recent decision by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program that asks worldwide students to leave the United States if their college courses are all online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Healey emphasized that there are 77,000 foreign students who add more than $3.2 billion to the state economy each year enrolled in Massachusetts' 121 colleges and universities.

"Our goal is to provide housing to all worldwide students who are able to enter the United States and who have applied for housing, and to provide the coursework needed so that students can continue making progress toward their degrees", added Vice Provosts Stacey Bent, Susie Brubaker-Cole and Sarah Church in the joint email.

Nearly 60 universities and colleges joined in Harvard and MIT's case, and Facebook, Google and Microsoft were among more than a dozen technology companies who filed a brief in support.

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"The emergency persists", the universities said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, "yet the government's policy has suddenly and drastically changed, throwing (schools') preparations into disarray and causing significant harm and turmoil".

If your university is only offering online learning in the fall, the only way you can stay in the U.S. is if you attend in-person classes.

Universities also face heavy economic losses because foreign students typically pay full tuition, and many might decide to quit if they can't stay in the US for the cultural experience, the lawyers both said. "We are pursuing this case because all global students studying in this country deserve the right to continue their education without risk of deportation". A judge is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in that case.

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The Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which is run by ICE, had permitted foreign students to continue with their spring and summer 2020 courses online while remaining in the country.

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