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Trump Administration Rescinds Student Visa Rule

A lawsuit from dozens of universities led ICE to take back its new policy of barring visas from students whose classes would go fully online in the fall

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After hundreds of universities spoke out against the Trump administration and eight federal lawsuits were filed, the administration rescinded the rule that required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools go entirely online. The decision was announced at the start of a hearing for a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said ICE and the Department of Homeland Security agreed to pull the July 6 directive and “return to the status quo.”

Thousands of foreign students can breathe a sigh of relief, as can their universities, which were scrambling to find a solution if the directive had stuck. Some professors had even offered to teach in person one-credit in-person courses that would allow the students to remain in the U.S. legally. ICE will revert to a directive from March that will suspend limits around online education for foreign students.

“While the government may attempt to issue a new directive, our legal arguments remain strong and the court has retained jurisdiction, which would allow us to seek judicial relief immediately to protect our international students should the government again act unlawfully,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement. Dozens of schools joined Harvard for the case, “There has never been a case where so many institutions sued the federal government,” said Terry Hartle, the American Council on Education’s senior vice president. “In this case, the government didn’t even try to defend its policymaking.”

Students from Asia make up the vast majority of foreign students. Over 768,000 Asian students are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Europeans are the second most populous group, at 90,996.  The Associated Press

In other federal immigration news…

Trump Bemoans Privately Built Border Wall While Awarding Builders $1.7 Billion

President Trump complained on Twitter that a privately constructed border wall in Texas was poorly done and a bad idea. He neglected to mention his administration awarded the builder $1.7 billion to build more walls. Tommy Fisher built a 3-mile border fence along the Rio Grande, calling it the “Lamborghini” of fences. But just months after it was completed, there are signs of erosion along the fence that could cause it to topple into a river. The administration gave Fisher a contract in May to build additional stretches of the wall in Arizona despite a lawsuit and ongoing audit by the Pentagon on a previous border wall contract. Texas Tribune

Diversity Visa Winners Sue Trump Administration

More than 200 winners of the government’s Diversity Visa lottery program are suing the Trump administration over the president’s recent executive order suspending immigration until next year. “The plaintiffs in the case followed the rules, and did everything they were supposed to do. They had planned to build a new life in the United States of America,” the lawyer Curtis Lee Morrison, based in Los Angeles, told el Nuevo Herald. The lawsuit was filed in the District of Columbia and claims that the Trump administration has attacked the program, which was created by Congress in 1990 to encourage immigration from countries that are underrepresented in the U.S. Miami Herald

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