Some 180 academic institutions in the US have joined a lawsuit against President Donald Trump administration’s decision to ban foreign students taking only online courses.
On July 6, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had unveiled new guidelines for F-1 and M-1 visas given to students restricting them to only students who take in-person courses or a combination of online and in-person courses.
Those who take only online courses would not be eligible for the visa.
As many universities switch to online teaching because of COVID-19 restrictions, not all foreign students can take in-person courses and they could be denied visas or fall out visa status and have to leave the US.
This move prompted the elite Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to launch the lawsuit.
The 22-page document issued by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration representing 180 higher education institutions showed a nationwide support for rescinding the guidance.
“ICE’s new policy serves only to severely disrupt international students’ educational attainment, and our country is worse off for it,” said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in a statement posted on the group’s official website.
“This quasi-international student ban represents another unfortunate assault by the administration against immigrants and higher education,” she added.
The Alliance comprised over 450 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, representing over 5 million students in 41 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
As of Saturday, hundreds of thousands of signatures have been collected online from supporters of several open letters and petitions that slammed the Trump administration’s decision.
The University of Southern California (USC), where a total of 12,265 international students were enrolled during the 2019-20 academic year, announced on Wednesday it had joined an amicus brief strongly supporting the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT.
The University of California (UC) also announced plans to file suit against ICE.
The UC’s 2019 fall enrollment data showed that 27,205 of the university’s 226,125 undergraduate students are non-resident international, while 13,995 of the university’s 58,941 graduate students are non-resident international.
Source: IND News
BDST: 1308 HRS, JULY 12, 2020