MIT, Harvard Sue Trump Administration Over International Student Visas

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration, over federal rules barring international students from staying in the U.S. if their college or university only offers online courses.

"Immediately after the Fourth of July weekend, ICE threw Harvard and MIT— indeed, virtually all of higher education in the United States—into chaos," the suit alleges. "On July 6, 2020, ICE announced that it was rescinding its COVID-19 exemption for international students...[leaving] hundreds of thousands of international students with no educational opportunities within the United States."

According to the Harvard Crimson, University President Lawrence S. Bacow said the federal guidelines came just a few hours after Harvard announced it would only house up to 40 percent of undergraduates in the Fall, and that it would hold all college classes online.

“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,” Bacow wrote in an email to affiliates. “We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal ... We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students—and international students at institutions across the country—can continue their studies without the threat of deportation."

As the Harvard Crimson reports, the universities' joint lawsuit argues that the federal guidelines "violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to consider 'important aspects of the problem' in advance of its release, failing to provide a reasonable basis for the policy, and failing to adequately notify the public."

On Tuesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also announced that her office will sue over the federal guidelines, which she said were “cruel” and “illegal.”

According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students contributed nearly $41 billion to the U.S. economy, and created or supported nearly half a million jobs during the 2018 – 2019 academic year.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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