“... The Trump Administration knew it didn’t have a chance” said the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
The plan would have forced all international university students to take at least one in-person course, during COVID-19-incuded school closures, or lose their visa.
The move to rescind the plan comes amid the opposition of hundreds of universities, as well as eight federal lawsuits and almost 20 state lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s announced policy.
The decision came during a hearing for a Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) lawsuit. US District Judge Allison D. Boroughs made the ruling after a mere five minutes of court proceedings.
“For the hundreds of thousands of international students across this country who enrich our institutions and strengthen our communities – we celebrate this victory with you,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. She went on to call the overturned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rule “senseless and illegal.”
“… The Trump Administration knew it didn’t have a chance,” added Healey.
F-1 visa students, who pursue academic coursework, and M-1 visa students, who pursue vocational coursework, were the targets of the new restrictions, which were set to apply to the fall 2020 semester.
The government had announced a less restrictive international study policy on March 13, due to the circumstances of the pandemic. The July 6 decision would have ended this policy, largely returning guidelines for international students back to the “status quo” even as cases continue to surge.
The universities behind the lawsuit indicated the July 6 announcement was a political move by the Trump administration, pushing them to reopen their doors.
Tech giants including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, had offered their support for the Harvard/MIT lawsuit. In court papers, the companies wrote that “America’s future competitiveness depends on attracting and retaining talented international students.”
Beyond potentially sacrificing human capital, the Harvard/MIT lawsuit referenced “the loss of the tens of billions of dollars that international students contribute to US GDP each year” that could follow the July 6 decision.
During the 2018/19 academic year, the number of foreign students in the US stood at 1,095,299. Chinese nationals comprise the largest community of foreign students in the US with 369,548 students in undergraduate, graduate, non-degree, and optional practical training (OPT) programs during the same academic year.
Students from India rank second at 202,014, followed by those from South Korea (52,250), Saudi Arabia (37,080), and Canada (26,122).