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A new ICE directive that would strip foreign students of their visas if their university switched to online courses in the fall was met with multiple lawsuits this week. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration on Wednesday to block the directive, arguing it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a similar lawsuit on behalf of the California State University system on Thursday. The directive was widely seen as an attempt to push universities to reopen. Hundreds of thousands of international students across the U.S. would be affected, and are also a major source of revenue for American universities. The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters
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In other national immigration news…
Border Arrests Spike 40 Percent in June
A total of 32,512 migrants were detained at the U.S.–Mexico border in June, a 40 percent increase from May, according to Customs and Border Protection. It was also nearly double the number of detentions from April. The spike came despite the coronavirus pandemic severely limiting migrants’ ability to seek asylum in the U.S. A CDC directive granted Border Patrol the power to swiftly “expel” any unauthorized border crossers. According to CBP, 89 percent of migrants were promptly turned back to Mexico under the rapid-expulsion system currently being challenged in court. The Washington Post
Indian Families Hit Hard by H-1B Visa Restrictions
Indian families have been hit hard by the Trump administration’s restrictions on H-1B visas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 375,000 temporary visa holders and green card applicants will not be able to enter the U.S. until the rules are relaxed, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. That includes many immigrants who’ve made their homes in the U.S. but were locked out when they temporarily returned to their home countries. Several hashtags have been circulating on social media, including #LetMeGoHome and #ExcludeUsFromBan, used by H-1B visa holders stranded abroad. Quartz
Bay Area Undocumented Restaurant Workers Acutely Impacted by Pandemic
Undocumented restaurant workers in the Bay Area have suffered significant economic hardship due to the pandemic, and are still struggling to catch up on rent and bills after restaurants shuttered. There are approximately 580,000 undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area. Approximately 1 in 3 undocumented workers in the state are employed in an industry that was highly affected by the shutdown, according to the California Budget and Policy Center. Some organizations have created funds for undocumented immigrants to fill the need left by the federal stimulus packages undocumented immigrants are not eligible for. San Francisco Chronicle
Family Separated by Trump and Then by COVID-19
Four sisters from El Salvador who were set to be reunited with their father after years of waiting were blocked by the coronavirus shutdown. Belén, 6; Amy, 19; Abigail, 16; and Génesis, 8; were Central American Minors, or CAM, a program that allowed children from the region to join a parent who was legally residing in the U.S. The Trump administration attempted to shut down the program, but a judge ruled last year that all the children who were approved must be resettled, including the Martínez sisters. They were set to depart and join their father when the Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele closed the airport during the pandemic. The Intercept
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