Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sue the Trump administration.
Harvard and MIT have filed a lawsuit in federal court objecting to a new Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) policy announced Monday which said international students on F-1 and M-1 visas would not be allowed to stay enrolled at U.S. colleges that go online-only in the fall. The White House announced such measure is in an effort to pressure universities into reopening their gates and abandoning the cautious approaches that many have announced they would adopt to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
However, the universities argue that ICE’s decision not to provide an exemption for online-only courses puts them in an “untenable situation” of either proceeding with their plans to operate fully or largely online or attempt to provide in-person learning, adding that the rule would lead to hundreds of thousands of international students being stuck in the United States with no way to get out of the country. They also say the administration is pressuring higher education to resume in-person classes before it’s safe to do so. The lawsuit objective is to block the directive, arguing it violates the Administrative Procedures Act. It has been filed in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Cornell, Dartmouth, and Princeton have all said they’ll sign on as friends of the court.
“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others,” Harvard University President Larry Bacow said, per CNN.