Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over its new policy to send back foreign students enrolled in online-only course schedules, CNN reports.
ICE announced this week that foreign students who are enrolled in online-only classes would have to return to their home country or face deportation.
The move came as universities like Harvard announced they will transition to online-only learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There are more than 1 million international students in the US.
Harvard, MIT sue:
Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit over the policy on Wednesday.
"The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others," Harvard University President Larry Bacow said.
Lawsuit says policy is illegal:
The lawsuit argues that the policy violates the Administrative Procedures Act and puts students in an “untenable situation.”
"Just weeks from the start of the fall semester, these students are largely unable to transfer to universities providing on-campus instruction, notwithstanding ICE's suggestion that they might do so to avoid removal from the country,” the lawsuit said. "Moreover, for many students, returning to their home countries to participate in online instruction is impossible, impracticable, prohibitively expensive, and/or dangerous."