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Photo: Harvard University
Photo: Harvard University

US backs down from banning international students after states team up for lawsuit

After the Trump administration announced the revocation of international students’ visas if schools are fully online, states retaliated, and they stepped down.

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The Trump administration has rescinded the revocation of F1 visas for international students whose courses would be completely virtual for the Fall semester because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

On July 6, the Trump administration had set forth a policy that would strip foreign students of visas if their colleges moved to online learning amid a spike in coronavirus cases nationwide. 

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia then teamed up to sue the Trump administration to block the procedures from going forward on July 13.

“The Trump Administration didn't even attempt to explain the basis for this senseless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. 

The Democrat-led move was filed against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and aimed to also stop the policy from going into effect while the case is debated. 

The lawsuit is joined by: Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, Minnesota, New Jersey, Colorado, Delaware, Oregon, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Vermont, Michigan, and California.

“This ICE Directive puts the lives of all of our students at risk by using international students and the tuition they pay as leverage to force colleges and universities to start in-person classes before they are ready. It is reckless, irresponsible, immoral and illegal,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. 

The states were not the only ones pushing this mandate back. Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Princeton also filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Other universities like NYU created a one-credit non-paid course in order for international students to keep their F-1 Visa active.

Because of the backlash, the U.S. district Judge Allison Burroughs said ICE and Homeland Security agreed to go back on their proposal.

This announcement has brought relief to the international students who were at risk of being deported for reasona out of their control. 

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