President Donald Trump’s administration has decided to abandon its plan to bar international students from living in the United States while taking fall classes online, on Tuesday.
The decision came soon after the attorneys general of 17 states, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for not allowing international students to take online-only courses this fall semester.
Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology also filed the lawsuit in the US Court in Massachusetts, VisaGuide.World reports.
The United States District Judge Allison Burroughs stressed that the administration would return to the policy that was in effect in March, which provided more flexibility for students enrolled in schools that switched to all-online courses because of the pandemic. According to that policy, international students were permitted to attend all classes online during the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, the White House plans to apply this rule to new students, rather than students already in the United States, according to another source. Still, The White House declined to comment on an ongoing policy process.
As an effort to stop the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), some universities plan to offer classes entirely online this fall.
President Trump’s plan raised concerns and caused polemics in a large share of countries.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif welcomed the government’s decision through a statement.
“This case also made abundantly clear that real lives are at stake in these matters, with the potential for real harm,” he said. We need to approach policy making, especially now, with more humanity, more decency — not less,” President L. Rafael Reif pointed out.
Rice University President David Leebron, stressed that he is “delighted” at the latest decision to reverse course.
“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,” Leebron said.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, earlier this month announced that International students would not be eligible to stay in the US if their university switches to all-online classes to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.