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Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over US visa rules hostile to international students

Harvard President says the visa move's "cruelty is only surpassed by its recklessness."
BY Skendha Singh |   09-07-2020

Lawrence Bacow, President of Harvard University
Lawrence Bacow, President of Harvard University, Image credit - Harvard Magazine

Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are suing the Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This has come as a response to ICE’s announcement that it will deport all international students who are taking online-only tuition.

Recently, Harvard had announced that it would hold all classes online with 40% undergraduates allowed on campus. MIT, on the other hand, planned to allow only seniors back on campus to allow them to complete their degrees. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 9% US universities are planning to teach online this fall semester.

The announcement therefore came across as insensitive, given the COVID19 spread in the US, and the current losses faced by the universities. Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said that the visa move’s “cruelty is surpassed only by its recklessness.” He also said, “It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others.”

Harvard and MIT are therefore seeking a temporary restraining order, and permanent relief, in order to prevent the Trump administration from enforcing these new modifications.

President Trump lashed out at the universities on Twitter: In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020

International students, a third of whom come from China, India and South Korea (IIE), pay the full-tuition fees. Threats of deportation in the face of a pandemic is likely to have a huge impact on prospective students who could choose welcoming countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand instead. The losses for US universities, when that happens, will be staggering. Tufts alone is anticipating a loss of 50 million USD in the next fiscal year.



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