Seventeen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday, seeking to halt a new federal rule that strips international students of their visas if their courses are fully online when classes resume in the fall.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Massachusetts, points to what the 18 attorneys general call the “cruel, abrupt and illegal action by the federal government to expel international students amid the pandemic that has caused death and disruption in the United States. ” “
The attorneys general behind the lawsuit are seeking a court order preventing the order from taking effect.
“The Trump administration did not even attempt to explain the basis for this pointless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. in a statement announcing The Suit.
The lawsuit, which names the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement as defendants, is the latest legal challenge to the Trump administration’s rule.
California filed a lawsuit against the federal government during the order last week, after Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went to court with a lawsuit of their own.
The rule has been criticized by states and educational institutions as a way to pressure colleges and universities to reopen their campus with classroom classes during the pandemic. It occurs when coronavirus cases are increasing in states across the country.
According to the directive, students with F-1 and M-1 visas “must leave the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in a legal status,” said the Immigration and Control Service of Customs in a statement. last week.
Those who violate the rules “may face immigration consequences that include, among others, the initiation of deportation proceedings,” the agency said.
The states behind the new lawsuit collectively host 1,124 colleges and universities combined, which housed approximately 373,304 international students in 2019, according to the filing. International students contributed an estimated $ 14 billion to the economy that year, the presentation says.
The legal action was jointly filed by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, plus the D.C.
A group of approximately 40 colleges and universities filed statements in support of the lawsuit, including Yale, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, Tufts and Rutgers.