Trump Administration Drops Plan to Expel Foreign Students in Online-Only Classes Amid Lawsuits

The Trump administration rescinded a new rule that would require foreign students enrolled in online-only courses to leave the country, The Associated Press reports.

ICE announced earlier this month that foreign students taking only online classes in their upcoming schedule would not be eligible to stay and would have to leave or face deportation. But a lawyer for the government told a federal judge on Tuesday that the directive had been rescinded and the agency agreed to “return to the status quo.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was not satisfied and warned that the administration may try to impose additional limits on foreign students.

“This is why we sue. The rule was illegal and the Trump Administration knew they didn’t have a chance,” she said. “They may try this again. We will be ready.”

Administration faced numerous lawsuits:

The new policy drew at least eight federal lawsuits from states and hundreds of universities.

Harvard President Larry Bacow, one of the first to sue, called the decision a “significant victory.”

“While the government may attempt to issue a new directive, our legal arguments remain strong and the Court has retained jurisdiction, which would allow us to seek judicial relief immediately to protect our international students should the government again act unlawfully,” he said.

MIT President Rafael Reif, who joined Bacow in suing the administration, vowed to “protect our students from any further arbitrary policies.”

“This case also made abundantly clear that real lives are at stake in these matters, with the potential for real harm,” he said. “We need to approach policy making, especially now, with more humanity, more decency — not less.”

Students relieved:

“I feel relief,” Andrea Calderon, a 29-year-old biology graduate student from Ecuador at the City University of New York, told the AP. “It would have been a very big problem if I had to leave the country right now.”

“As it is, we’re living in very uncertain times, and the recent ICE policy just made things even more uncertain,” added Rahul Lobo, a 19-year-old junior at the University of Notre Dame. “Suddenly I wasn’t worrying about whether I could get back to campus, but more whether I would even be able to finish my degree in four years.”


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