July 14, 2020
If the devastating effect on COVID-19 was not enough, the US Immigration and Customs Agency (ICE) made an ill advised decision on July 6th to bar foreign students on F-1 visas to leave the country if they fail to enroll for in-person classes while most universities are contemplating online classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration over a rule change that would have barred international college students from taking fully online course loads in the United States. In court on Tuesday, a judge announced that the government would rescind the directive. This is great news for million foreign students that are here legally. Thousands of Indian students are relieved tonight.
Over a 120 Universities, 17 States and other organizations expressed their support for the legal challenge in court filings.
Last March ICE issued guidance
allowing students to continue their stay even if only online classes were offered. With the new directive issued today the same guidance will continue to be in effect.
It should be noted that International students often pay full tuition, meaning that many of the schools attached to the now-resolved lawsuit would have faced big financial losses. Foreign students contribute over $40 billion annually to the economy supporting nearly 500,000 jobs nation-wide.
Students owe their gratitude to Universities (their faculty who even volunteered to offer one-on-one tutorial to help avoid deportation), 17 States including Michigan, over 100 members of Congress, several civil rights organizations and of course some members of the White House too.
Let us hope for better times ahead.