UArizona joins coalition lawsuit challenging ICE's recent order on worldwide students


Last Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that worldwide students with F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant visas who take all of their classes online - as some colleges and universities have already committed to during the COVID-19 pandemic - would not be allowed to stay in the do their schoolwork.

The lawsuit which was filed on Monday, July 13, seeks to stop the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement from implementing the policy, as reported by CNN. Although Notre Dame will be holding classes in-person this fall, the injustice of the policy compelled the University to join the brief.

Now, ICE will stick with the update to its rules issued in March that allow students taking online courses to reside in the United States on F-1 visas.

Klein added that universities are making hard decisions to keep students safe during the coronavirus pandemic, and should be given more flexibility. The State would also not issue visas to students enrolled in such courses and the students who are already enrolled in such courses/programs are forced to either leave the country or transfer themselves to other courses where classes are conducted in-person. Federal officials said they were providing leniency by allowing students to keep their visas even if they study online from overseas.

"Many of our 3,700 global graduate and undergraduate students stayed in this country during the pandemic to make sure their educations was not interrupted by visa issues".

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the nation began to shift to largely online classes in March to discourage bringing people together in a confined space.

Supporting the schools' lawsuit are 326 colleges and universities, 26 cities and towns, 18 business organizations, 16 educational and professional societies, 16 student government organizations, and four unions including the American Federation of Teachers.

President Donald Trump has urged schools and universities to reopen as normal as he tries to restart the USA economy.

"This agile approach to the Fall 2020 semester demonstrates that ICE considered and balanced the equities of schools, foreign students, and the agency's need to uphold and enforce the immigration laws and regulations", Lelling said. This leaves in flux new students or individuals set to come to the United States in the fall.

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a similar lawsuit last week, and a hearing in that case is scheduled for Tuesday.