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Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have teamed up to challenge a federal policy that will inevitably hurt their foreign students.
On Monday, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement announced it would not issue visas to foreign students whose colleges decided to run classes fully online in the fall. Harvard and MIT are two schools that had already decided to do so in order to stem COVID-19 spread, and the universities launched a lawsuit Wednesday aimed at stopping the ICE policy.
ICE's policy change told foreign students to either consider transferring to a school that would have in-person classes or return to their home countries. The suit requests a 14-day restraining order on the policy, since they formed their plans for the fall before the policy was issued.
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The schools also argue against the rule change as a whole, saying it "would bar hundreds of thousands of international students at American universities from the United States." Some of those students are from countries wracked with civil unrest and Internet connectivity issues, making it unsafe and untenable for them to learn at home, the lawsuit argues.
The suit goes on to allege ICE's rule change is "a naked effort by the federal government to force universities to reopen all in-person classes." President Trump has publicly favored forcing all schools to reopen, even as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise around the country.
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