Trump administration rescinds international student policy for online classes in stunning u-turn

Christel Deskins

Harvard University is planning to teach classes largely online in the 2020 fall semester: AP Donald Trump’s administration has abandoned its plan to rescind certain visas for foreign college students whose universities would be moving to online-only courses. Several universities and attorneys general in 18 states as well as Washington […]

Harvard University is planning to teach classes largely online in the 2020 fall semester: AP
Harvard University is planning to teach classes largely online in the 2020 fall semester: AP

Donald Trump’s administration has abandoned its plan to rescind certain visas for foreign college students whose universities would be moving to online-only courses.

Several universities and attorneys general in 18 states as well as Washington DC had sued the administration over the policy, announced earlier this month.

Under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidelines, which have been scrapped, for now, foreign students whose courses were moved online amid the coronavirus pandemic would have to leave the country. It instructed students on F-1 and M-1 visas to “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”

The administration reached a settlement on Tuesday, a week after the guidance was issued, that reinstates an earlier policy allowing foreign students to legally remain in the country while their universities make course adjustments.

Critics condemned the administration’s move as another attempt to railroad anti-immigration policies under the auspices of combatting Covid-19.

Days after ICE had announced the rule change, Harvard University and MIT filed the first of a series of lawsuits urging the administration to drop the plans.

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