Last week, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security introduced new guidelines that would strip visas from international students who don’t take in-person classes. The controversial move would have effectively forced universities to offer in-person courses instead of keeping everything online, despite the warnings of many public health officials. Now, the policy has been rescinded after lawsuits brought by several universities and colleges, including Harvard and MIT.
Breaking: The government has agreed to rescind DHS and ICE rules barring international students attending online universities from staying in the U.S., per a hearing this afternoon in Harvard and MIT’s lawsuit against the agencies.
— The Harvard Crimson (@thecrimson) July 14, 2020
Judge Allison Burroughs, a federal district judge in Boston who was expected to preside over the Harvard-MIT suit, said, “I have been informed by the parties that they have come to a resolution. They will return to the status quo.”
The Harvard-MIT lawsuit claimed that ICE’s new policy was designed to “force universities to reopen in-person classes,” increasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Universities also accused the administration of committing several other violations of a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act, which determines the decision-making powers of federal agencies.
While international students will not get the college experience they have been looking for in the US, the rescinding of the order will still be welcome news.