Harvard University and MIT sue Trump administration over 'illegal' plans to ban visas for international students whose fall classes will be online

Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday over a plan to strip international students of visas if all their classes move online. 
Leaders of the Cambridge institutions asked a federal court to temporarily block the rule that would bar foreign students from remaining in the United States if their universities are not holding any in-person classes this fall. 
They said they believed the order is 'illegal' and will continue to fight against it, pushing for the courts to permanently block the policy from coming into effect. 
Harvard's president Lawrence Bacow claimed that with the order, the Trump administration is threatening to force educational institutions to open despite the ongoing dangers of the coronavirus pandemic. 
Harvard University and MIT is suing the Trump administration over a ban on visas for foreign students if classes are held online. President Trump pictured at a roundtable on reopening schools Tuesday in which he blasted Harvard as 'ridiculous' for online classes due to COVID-19
Harvard University and MIT is suing the Trump administration over a ban on visas for foreign students if classes are held online. President Trump pictured at a roundtable on reopening schools Tuesday in which he blasted Harvard as 'ridiculous' for online classes due to COVID-19
Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, pictured, said in a letter to the university's community that the White House is trying to force universities to reopen despite the danger to students caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the worsening outbreak in the US
Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, pictured, said in a letter to the university's community that the White House is trying to force universities to reopen despite the danger to students caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the worsening outbreak in the US
Harvard announced Wednesday morning that it had filed the lawsuit
Harvard announced Wednesday morning that it had filed the lawsuit
International students may need leave US if classes go online
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He added that the 'cruelty' of the order was 'surpassed only by its recklessness'. 
'Within the last hour, we filed pleadings together with MIT in the US District Court in Boston seeking a temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement of the order,' Bacow wrote in a letter to the Harvard community on Wednesday morning. 
'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.' 
Bacow added that the order 'was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall' but came at a time of record new coronavirus cases across the county. 
'We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal,' he wrote. 
'We will not stand by to see our international students’ dreams extinguished by a deeply misguided order. We owe it to them to stand up and to fight—and we will.' 
MIT joined Harvard in filing the lawsuit to the US District Court in Boston, seeking a 14-day restraining order on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy. 
The universities said that they relied on the Department of Homeland Security policy from March which would allow foreign students to remain in the US and for new students to arrive for the academic year beginning in the Fall. 
'If allowed to stand, ICE’s policy would bar hundreds of thousands of international students at American universities from the United States in the midst of their undergraduate or graduate studies,' the schools wrote in the court papers. 
Harvard University announced Monday that while 40 percent of its undergraduates could return to campus, all classes will be online this fall. Pictured, the closed Harvard campus
Harvard University announced Monday that while 40 percent of its undergraduates could return to campus, all classes will be online this fall. Pictured, the closed Harvard campus
A letter from Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow
Bacow said in the letter that the ICE order is 'illegal'
A letter from Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow in which he claimed that the new ICE policy on foreign student visas is 'illegal' and that Harvard will fight against it
'ICE’s decision reflects a naked effort by the federal government to force universities to reopen all in-person classes notwithstanding their informed judgment that it is neither safe nor advisable to do so. The effect — perhaps even the goal—is to create chaos for schools and international students alike.'
The Boston Globe reports that the lawsuit notes that some students would not be able to continue their online education with Harvard and MIT if they return to their home countries. 
It cited students from countries such as Somalia and Ethiopia where civil unrest makes internet access unlikely. 
The suit added that some students would face 'conditions of social unrest, economic instability, or other threats to their continued safety'. 
MIT, pictured, has joined with Harvard to file the lawsuit against the Trump administration.
MIT, pictured, has joined with Harvard to file the lawsuit against the Trump administration. 
Harvard University pledged to fight the order Wednesday as they announced the lawsuit
Harvard University pledged to fight the order Wednesday as they announced the lawsuit
'Others might be drafted in their home countries, might face threats or abuse based on their sexual orientation, or might not be able to access mental health treatments,' the universities argued. 
According to the Boston Globe, the universities have asked the federal court to schedule a hearing on their request Wednesday. 
On Monday, the Trump administration declared that it would not allow foreign students to remain in the country if all of their classes are moved online because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Those attending schools that are staying online must 'depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction,' according to the guidance. 

Under the updated rules, international students must take at least some of their classes in person.
The guidelines, issued by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), provide additional pressure for universities to reopen even amid growing concerns about the recent spread of COVID-19 among young adults. 
New visas will not be issued to students at schools or programs that are entirely online. And even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses this fall, international students will be barred from taking all their classes online.
It creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who became stranded in the US last spring after the coronavirus forced their schools to move away from in-person classes. 
Nearly 400,000 foreigners received student visas in the 12-month period that ended September 30, down more than 40 per cent from four years earlier. School administrations partly blame visa processing delay. 

Colleges across the US were already expecting sharp decreases in international enrollment this fall, but losing all international students could be disastrous for some. 
Many depend on tuition revenue from international students, who typically pay higher tuition rates. Last year, universities in the US attracted nearly 1.1 million students from abroad.
Among those not affected is Cornell University that on Tuesday announced it will welcome students back to campus. 
The Ivy League university decided that compared with holding classes only online, residential learning would be safer for students and the wider community because it can ask students to participate in a screening program to detect and contain any spread of the coronavirus, President Martha Pollack said. 
Just hours before the new guidance was issued, Harvard had made the decision to move their classes online this fall, in light of the growing number of coronavirus cases. 
The prestigious university announced that 40 percent of undergraduates would be allowed to return to campus but their instruction would be conducted remotely. 
On Tuesday, President Trump lashed out at the university, calling the move to online due to the coronavirus pandemic 'ridiculous'. 

'I think it's ridiculous. I think it's an easy way out. And I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves,' Trump said at a White House roundtable discussion, during which he called for schools and universities to reopen for the next semester.
Trump, who is campaigning for reelection in November, has taken a bullish approach to reopening the country even as virus infections continue to spike, particularly the south and west.
'Everybody wants it. The moms want it. The dads want it. The kids want it. It's time to do it,' he said.
'We want to get our schools open, we want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall.'
Coronavirus cases in the US hit a grim new record on Tuesday with more than 60,000 new cases reported in a single day. 
The number of cases across the US now nears 3 million and more than 131,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic took hold in March.  
The U.S. is the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic. 
Harvard University and MIT sue Trump administration over 'illegal' plans to ban visas for international students whose fall classes will be online Harvard University and MIT sue Trump administration over 'illegal' plans to ban visas for international students whose fall classes will be online Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:02 Rating: 5

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