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Trump admin rescinds order removing some foreign students from US

Harvard University - Cambridge, MA (Shelby L. Bell/Flickr)
July 14, 2020

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

President Donald Trump’s administration has rescinded a rule requiring international students to transfer or return to their home countries if the schools they were attending planned to only do online courses in the fall of 2020 due to coronavirus concerns.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs in Boston, Mass. confirmed a Trump administration decision to settle the case after U.S. universities including Harvard and the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) challenged the rule affecting foreign students. She said the U.S. government had agreed to rescind the rule and return to immigration guidance it had issued in the Spring.

“ICE will revert back to the guidance it issued in March that allows students taking online courses to reside in the United States on F-1 visas,” the Harvard University newspaper tweeted.

The Associated Press also reported a lawyer for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and Department of Homeland Security only responded to a request for comment to say Judge Burroughs characterization of the case was correct.

The latest development in the immigration issue comes one week after ICE issued a notice to international students that those attending schools and universities with only online courses would either have to transfer to a school holding in-person courses, or return to their home countries.

Colleges challenging the policy said it would put students and faculty at risk and harm schools financially with international students requesting refunds for their tuition.

Other students argued the order to return home placed a high burden on students from countries with government restrictions on internet use or with poor internet services in general.

The March education rules had waived online course requirements, though the immigration officials previously argued they had told universities all along that immigration rules were subject to change. They also argued the now-rescinded rule was consistent with existing immigration law that international students could not receive immigration visas simply by taking a full set of courses entirely online.