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Over 200 US Universities Challenge ICE Guidelines on Foreign Students


FILE - Students walk past the "Great Dome" atop Building 10 on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge, Mass., April 3, 2017. MIT says it will investigate the school's ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

Over 200 universities have signed briefs in support of Harvard and MIT's lawsuit challenging a U.S. guideline to not grant visas to international students whose coursework will be all online.

Fifty-nine schools, including Stanford and Duke, filed a brief Monday in support of the suit, saying the new guidelines forces schools to "choose between opening their campuses regardless of the public health risks, or forcing their international students to leave the country," The Associated Press reported.

Harvard and MIT first announced they were filing a lawsuit against the new guideline issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week. On July 10, a group of 180 universities known as the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration filed a brief in support of the lawsuit.

Harvard, MIT Sue to Block ICE Rule on International Students
Universities contend officials failed to offer reasonable basis justifying policy

"The number of institutions speaking out on behalf of international students demonstrates the breadth of support for international students and the appreciation of the immense contributions they bring to all our campuses," Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the group, wrote in a statement.

Also on July 10, the state of California became the first in the United States to sue the Trump administration over the new guideline.

"Today's lawsuit rests on America's enduring principle that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can earn a chance to get ahead. We'll see the Trump administration in court," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. There were 185,000 international students in the state of California in January, according to figures from the Department of Homeland Security.

There are more than 1 million international students currently enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities.

According to ICE, visas will not be issued to students enrolled in fully online schools. Visa holders outside the U.S. but registered in institutions hosting only online classes will not be allowed to enter the country.

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday. If the judge upholds the guideline proposed by ICE, universities will have until Wednesday to notify ICE whether their classes will be taking place entirely online.

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