Judge Blocks ‘Unlawful Presence’ Policy

May 6, 2019

A federal judge on Friday issued a nationwide order temporarily blocking the Trump administration from enforcing a 2018 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policy memo that makes it easier for international students to accrue “unlawful presence” in the U.S., a determination that can subject them to future three- or 10-year bars on re-entering the country.

A group of four colleges sued to stop the policy, which they argued could snare thousands of well-meaning international students who might face re-entry bans for unintentional violations of their visa status or for administrative errors. In issuing a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement of the memo, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta C. Biggs concluded that the plaintiffs “demonstrated a likelihood of success” on their respective claims that the memo is invalid for failing to confirm with notice and comment procedures and that it “substantially conflicts” with the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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