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More Lawsuits Challenge ICE International Student Rule

July 13, 2020
 
 

At least three more lawsuits filed late last week seek to halt a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement directive that would bar international students in the U.S. from enrolling exclusively in online courses this fall.

Under the directive announced last Monday, ICE would require international students to take at least some in-person coursework or otherwise face immigration consequences, including deportation.

California attorney general Xavier Becerra filed suit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. A group of seven international graduate students filed suit Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. And Johns Hopkins University, in Maryland, filed suit Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

All three lawsuits allege violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and argue that the new ICE directive puts inappropriate pressure on colleges to hold in-person classes during the pandemic or otherwise risk losing thousands of international students. The lawsuit from the students says that ICE's "life-threatening action makes foreign students pawns in a political drama."

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have separately sued to block the ICE directive, and a hearing in that case is scheduled in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts on Tuesday afternoon. A group of about 180 colleges filed an amicus brief Saturday supporting Harvard and MIT in the case.

ICE declined to comment on pending litigation.

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