Thu | Aug 6, 2020

US judge to hear arguments in challenge to foreign student rule

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2020 | 1:48 PM
In this August 13, 2019, file photo, pedestrians walk through the gates of Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge scheduled arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit challenging a new Trump administration policy requiring international students to transfer schools or leave the country if their colleges hold classes entirely online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit is being brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which argue that the policy was created unlawfully and that it contradicts previous guidance from federal immigration officials.

The colleges are asking the court to block the rule at least temporarily.

Under the policy, international students in the US would be forbidden from taking all of their courses online this fall.

New visas would not be issued to students at schools planning to provide all classes online, which includes Harvard. Students already in the US would face deportation if they didn’t transfer schools or leave the country voluntarily.

The rule creates a dilemma for thousands of foreign students who stayed in the US after their colleges shifted to remote learning last spring.

As part of the policy, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has told colleges to notify the agency no later than Wednesday if they plan to hold all classes online this fall.

Other colleges would have until August 1 to share their fall plans with ICE.

The case is being heard by US District Judge Allison Burroughs, who was nominated to the court in 2014 by former President Barack Obama.

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