Chicago: The U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement will rescind guidance issued last Monday, which would have forced international students to leave the USA if classes are only online in the fall, District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs announced at a hearing on Tuesday.
On Friday last, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, represented by international law firm McDermott Will & Emery, led 180-member colleges and universities in filing an amicus brief in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In an email to affiliates on Tuesday, Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote that he was “delighted” by the withdrawal of the policy.
“This is a significant victory. The directive had disrupted all of American higher education,” Bacow wrote. “I have heard from countless international students who said that the July 6 directive had put them at serious risk. These students – our students — can now rest easier and focus on their education, which is all they ever wanted to do.”
In a letter to the Mit Community, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said, “I am delighted to join you in taking pleasure in the news that the federal government just rescinded the July 6th policy from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would have prohibited many international students from studying in the United States if – as was likely at many institutions, in response to the pandemic – their classes would be fully online. For our international students, and thus for all of us, this comes as an enormous relief.”
Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, stated: “This is an extremely significant outcome for international students and colleges. And, we are grateful to ICE and DHS for listening. But, make no mistake, this result is about the transformational power of our collective action and the swift, visible outrage of many—including presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities from across the country.
However, he also cautioned: “The fight is not yet over. The threats to immigrants and international students are still looming. We need to continue this fight for international students, their ability to come to the U.S. to learn, study and have the opportunity to work, innovate and contribute to our nation.”