White House Considering Rollback of Visa Restrictions on Foreign Students

A view of the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts

What’s behind the threat to international students at U.S. universities? Nothing good

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the decision as a court hearing was getting underway on a challenge to the rule by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The lawsuit is seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction to stop the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's July 6 directive from being enforced and its policies from being implemented.

While many universities are planning a combination of in-person and online learning this fall, some - including Harvard, MIT, the University of Southern California and most recently West Chester University of Pennsylvania - plan to remain online only. Although Notre Dame will be holding classes in-person this fall, the injustice of the policy compelled the University to join the brief. "International students contribute greatly to the innovation and knowledge creation happening at America's great research universities".

Instead, the government will return to previous guidelines issued in March that allow students who are studying online to reside in the country on F-1 visas. Universities throughout the USA including Harvard and MIT are looking to opt for a completely online mode of classes considering the public safety issues for the following semester.

WHO Experts in China to Begin Investigation of Coronavirus Origins
For example, people in choir practice, restaurants or fitness classes could be exposed to both aerosol and droplet transmission. It also provided more details on how the virus can be transmitted through aerosols in the air in certain settings.

The lawsuit brought by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with community and state college chancellors, contends the policy threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 by requiring worldwide students to take classes in person, "putting themselves, teachers, other students and the community at large at risk of getting and spreading the coronavirus - or be subject to deportation".

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. This leaves in flux new students or individuals set to come to the United States in the fall. They say the new policy harms students' safety and forces schools to reconsider their plans for the fall. Colleges said the policy would put students' safety at risk and hurt schools financially.

The lawsuit also alleges the new rule will hurt the economy by keeping thousands of global students from coming to and residing in the United States and finding work in fields such as science, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, business and finance and education.

The U.S. Government has agreed to rescind a July 6 Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) rule that may have barred worldwide students with online course loads from the country.

Latest News