Dozens of US universities 'support challenge to Trump's order on foreign students' -- read details
The so-called amicus brief -- a supporting document submitted by interested parties -- was filed by 59 US universities on Sunday, including seven other Ivy League schools.
About 60 US universities have filed a brief supporting a lawsuit by two others, seeking to block a Donald Trump administration rule barring foreign students from remaining in the country if educational institutions don't hold in-person classes this fall.
The lawsuit was filed by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Wednesday in a federal court in Boston. The so-called amicus brief -- a supporting document submitted by interested parties -- was filed by 59 US universities on Sunday, including seven other Ivy League schools.
The universities said they relied on federal guidance, which was to remain "in effect for the duration of the emergency", allowing international students to attend all-online courses during the pandemic, according to the amicus brief, Reuters reported.
"The emergency persists, yet the government's policy has suddenly and drastically changed, throwing amici's preparations into disarray and causing significant harm and turmoil," they added.
About 1.1 million foreign students attended US higher education institutions in the 2018-19 school year, according to a report by the State Department and the Institute of International Education (IIE), and they made up 5.5% of the entire US higher education enrollment.
The Trump administration announcement blindsided academic institutions grappling with the challenges of safely resuming classes as the coronavirus pandemic continues unabated around the world and surges in the United States. The US government has been trying to get schools and universities to reopen by autumn. Harvard has already announced it would hold all classes online that term.
The decision by the US government to withdraw visas from foreign students whose classes have moved online completely has been met with emotions ranging from shock to disgust.
The ICE statement specifies that students who are in the US on F-1 and M-1 visas fall under the ambit of the decision. The ruling in question, as per the BBC, applies to these specific types of visas issued for academic study, 373,000 of which were granted last year alone.
Moreover, in 2018-2019, the country had over one million international students in graduate and undergraduate programmes. The number translates to nearly 5.5% of the country’s total student community, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). Of this, Indians contribute to 26%, second only to the Chinese at 48%.
Terming the move as “senseless, cruel, and xenophobic”, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren had said: “Kicking international students out of the US during a global pandemic because their colleges are moving classes online for physical distancing hurts students."
The president of Harvard University, Larry Bacow, was reported to have described the move as a “blunt, one-size-fits-all approach to a complex problem”.
Students in India spend years - and a considerable amount of money - training for Graduate Record Examinations and the English proficiency exams that are prerequisite to obtaining a seat in US universities.
A majority of students chart out their higher education plans in the US with a clear intention of pursuing their careers in the country. Universities are then painstakingly chosen based on the courses and amenities that they provide; which students feel will help them at their workplace subsequently.