Google, Facebook, Microsoft join lawsuit against student visa rule


Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other tech firms have joined the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and MIT last week to block the Trump administration’s decision to ban foreign students taking only online courses.

In a joint brief, the tech companies including PayPal said the student visa restrictions will “inflict significant harm” to their businesses, reports The Hill.

“America’s future competitiveness depends on attracting and retaining talented international students,” the companies said in the brief.

“Individuals who come here as international students are also essential to educating the next generation of inventors,” they added.

Some 180 academic institutions in the US have joined the lawsuit.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had July 6 unveiled new guidelines for F-1 and M-1 visas given to students restricting them to only students who take in-person courses or a combination of online and in-person courses.

Those who take only online courses would not be eligible for the visa.

As many universities switch to online teaching because of COVID-19 restrictions, not all foreign students can take in-person courses and they could be denied visas or fall out out visa status and have to leave the US.

The 22-page document issued by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration representing 180 higher education institutions showed a nationwide support for rescinding the guidance.

“ICE’s new policy serves only to severely disrupt international students’ educational attainment, and our country is worse off for it,” said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in a statement posted on the group’s official website.

“This quasi-international student ban represents another unfortunate assault by the administration against immigrants and higher education,” she added.

The University of California also announced plans to file suit against the ICE.