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Harvard and MIT seek to block order deporting students studying online

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  • Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit Tuesday against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over a new rule that threatened many international students with deporation.
  • The new policy said that students whose courses no longer have an in-person element because of the COVID-19 pandemic would lose their permission to be in the US, and may get deported.
  • Trump singled out Harvard yesterday, criticising the university for not reopening in the fall as he seeks to complete the reopening of the country despite spiking coronvirus infections. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are suing the Trump adminsitration over an order depriving that foreign students of permission to remain in the US if their courses become mostly online.

The elite universities filed the lawsuit Wednesday morning against the Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A copy of the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Massachusetts, is hosted on Harvard’s website.

The suit follows new guidance by ICE which said that students on F-1 visas would no longer be allowed to stay in the US unless they had in-person classes to attend.

Many schools are not planning a mass return of students to campuses in the fall, which in turn would mean

The guidance revoked a temporary permission to stay which was issued earlier in the coronaviurs pandemic.

The two schools are seeking to block enforcement of the order, which was announced Monday. They also asked that it be halted permanently and declared invalid.

Among its arguments, Harvard said that attending online classes would be impossible for many students, including those who live in countries like Syria, where there is a civil war, or Ethiopia, which is under an internet blackout.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Harvard directly for its plan to bring only 40% of graduates back to campus, and teach courses online during the fall as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the US, as “ridiculous.”

“I think it’s ridiculous, I think it’s an easy way out and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.

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