Trump Administration Rescinds Deportation Order for International Students

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Posted: Jul 14, 2020 5:15 PM
Trump Administration Rescinds Deportation Order for International Students

Source: Courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Trump administration will allow international college students to stay in the United States regardless of whether their universities hold classes in person this fall, a change in policy that came as a surprise to many. 

The news comes a week after ICE announced that foreign students would be required to transfer schools or leave the country if their colleges move all classes online due to COVID-19 concerns. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit arguing that the mandate was created unlawfully and contradicted previous guidance from federal immigration officials, the Associated Press reported. A federal judge was scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday but, in a twist, announced at the beginning of court proceedings that the administration and the universities had come to a resolution and would return to the status quo, according to The Hill

The reversal of course came after an outpouring of social media outrage over the policy. Activists used the hashtag #studentban to protest the announcement, calling it an example of “institutionalized xenophobia,” while others said it was a sign of the administration’s “viciousness” and a “slide into fascism.”  Many took the opportunity to bash the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency behind the would-be mandate.

Some 59 other colleges, including seven Ivies, joined Harvard and MIT in the lawsuit. While schools largely supported the outcry over what many called an injustice, Forbes reported that finances were the chief motivator of the lawsuit. Approximately 1.1 million foreign students are enrolled in American universities. Losing these students, who often pay full tuition and support the jobs of hundreds of thousands of academics and college staff, would have cost universities $41 billion, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. 

The move brought praise from some of the White House's most vocal critics.

At the time of this writing, ICE had not released a statement on the Trump administration's decision to rescind the policy.