Universities take new Trump rule on foreign students to court

Henrietta Strickland
July 13, 2020

Nearly 60 US universities filed a brief supporting Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in their effort to stop the Trump administration from enforcing new visa guidelines that would bar some global students from entering and staying in the country if their universities move all courses online due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

Nearly 60 United States universities filed a brief supporting Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in their effort to stop the Trump administration from enforcing new visa guidelines that would bar some global students from entering and staying in the country to attend college.

The US government has been trying to get schools and universities to reopen by autumn.

The suit by the mostly-Democratic states, which was filed in US District Court for the District of MA on Monday, calls the ICE guidelines "senseless and cruel", and calls for a temporary restraining order and eventually its dismissal.

On Monday, ICE announced that it will not permit global students on F-1 visas to take a full online course load in the fall while studying in the United States as infections continued to surge in the country.

The rule, issued a week ago, would upend months of careful planning by colleges and universities, the lawsuit says, and could force many students to return to their home countries during the pandemic, where their ability to study would be severely compromised.

The universities said they relied on federal guidance, which was to remain "in effect for the duration of the emergency", allowing worldwide students to attend all-online courses during the pandemic, according to the amicus brief.

"The Trump administration didn't even attempt to explain the basis for this senseless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their global students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses", Maura Healey, the MA attorney general, said in a statement announcing the suit, which accuses the administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act. They are mostly run by Democrats administrations, although Maryland and Vermont, which are run by moderate Republican governors, joined the lawsuit. Trump won 20 of the country's least educated states (with the least number of college degrees) in the 2016 election.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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