A U.S. federal judge announced Tuesday that the Trump administration is revoking the previously announced policy that would have forced international students and exchange visitors taking online-only classes at U.S. universities to depart the country.
Visa requirements for international students and exchange visitors have long prevented them from coming to the U.S. just to enroll in a full slate of online-only classes. ICE released a guidance on July 6 stating that this policy would be maintained, despite many U.S. universities moving their courses online during the coronavirus pandemic. The statement left almost one million international students in the U.S. fumbling to change their course schedules, transfer to another university, or make plans to return home.
However, on Tuesday, the White House elected to revoke this policy, which some White House officials say comes in response to a significant amount of negative feedback. Harvard and MIT even filed a lawsuit against President Trump disputing the regulation. Another White House source says that the administration is currently aiming to have the rule apply to new students only.
Rice University President David Leebron said of the reversal, “We thought the original rules that were suggested were cruel and misguided and didn’t serve our universities, didn’t serve our students, and frankly, didn’t serve our country.”
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