Harvard, MIT sue Trump administration over student visa rules: Report


Two universities, Harvard and MIT, have filed a lawsuit Wednesday to prevent the United States government from enforcing the new student visa rules, according to a report in The Harvard Crimson.

The report, by Camille G. Caldera and Michelle G. Kurilla and quoting Harvard president Lawrence S. Bacow, said the suit was filed at the District Court in Boston Wednesday morning against the Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to the new visa rules, no international student in the US can attend a course that is completely online.

Many universities are moving online in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard has announced it would house no more than 40 percent of undergraduates and would hold all college classes online in the fall.

“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,” the Crimson quoted Bacow as writing in an email. “We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal.”

“We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students—and international students at institutions across the country—can continue their studies without the threat of deportation,” Bacow wrote in the mail, according to the Crimson.

“As a university with a profound commitment to residential education, we hope and intend to resume full in-person instruction as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so,” Bacow wrote. “But, until that time comes, we will not stand by to see our international students’ dreams extinguished by a deeply misguided order. We owe it to them to stand up and to fight—and we will.”

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, called the Trump administration move perplexing, and one that would jeopardize America’s future as world leader.

“The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) announcement is perplexing, given that some degree of remote instruction is necessary for colleges and universities to protect the safety and well-being of their communities and the public at large, while still allowing students to continue their studies. Challenges and uncertainty related to COVID-19 are already weighing heavily on students; now is the worst time to burden them further with anxiety,” Napolitano wrote in an emailed reply to indica News.

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