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Federal government rescinds ICE, DHS decision prohibiting international students from remaining in the U.S. with a fully online course load

ICE will return to previous regulations implemented in March, allowing international students with a fully online course load to stay in the U.S.

Updated 2:18 p.m., July 15, 2020 

The Department of Homeland Security will rescind the regulations released July 6 barring international students from remaining in the United States if their course load is entirely online, federal judge Allison Burroughs announced Tuesday.

This announcement follows a lawsuit by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement decision. At least seven other lawsuits had been filed by states and other universities, including one by 17 states and the District of Columbia, in the days since Harvard and MIT first announced their lawsuit.

The agreement today was reached five minutes into the hearing, according to The Harvard Crimson. 

Brown filed an amicus brief in support of Harvard and MIT on Sunday July 12, joining Cornell, Princeton and Penn among other institutions. University spokesperson Brian Clark cited the “tremendous negative impact the temporary rule would have on international students at Brown, and international students across the country,” for the University’s decision to file the brief, The Herald previously reported

Prior to its rescission, Christina Paxson P’19 called the guidance for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program “nothing short of cruel.” 

Provost Richard Locke P’18 wrote that the reversal of the ICE guidance represented an “important victory” and “great relief” for American universities in a community-wide email Tuesday night. The policy’s revocation “is an important recognition of the extraordinary contributions that the international students and scholars make to our universities,” he wrote. 

Locke also expressed that the University will continue to advocate on behalf of international students through the promotion of policies and actions that support the personal and academic success of members of the international community.

This message of relief was echoed by University spokesperson Brian Clark in an email to The Herald. “Our hope is that for international students at Brown and at universities across the country, this offers some reassurance and enables them flexibility to move forward with academic year plans that balance their health, safety and academic pursuits to the greatest extent possible,” he wrote.

ICE will return to the previous regulations enacted on March 13 allowing international students taking online courses to stay in the U.S. following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many universities shifted to remote learning. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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