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Trump admin drops new visa rule under pressure from colleges, big tech

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  • The Trump administration has dropped a new rule that would have forced international students at colleges with online-only classes this Fall to return to their country of origin.
  • Harvard and MIT sued the administration over the rule, arguing that the administration failed to allow for legally mandated public comment before implementing it.
  • Tech companies including Microsoft, Facebook, and Google also slammed the rule and said it would hurt their ability to recruit top talent.
  • International students will now be allowed to stay in the US even if their colleges only provides online classes in the Fall.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration has rescinded a rule that would have required international students to take in-person classes in order to stay in the US this Fall.

The rule was met with outcry from universities preparing for remote instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit last week to block the rule, arguing that the administration didn’t consider its economic impacts and failed to provide a legally mandated period for public comment on the rule.

A slew of tech companies joined Harvard and MIT to decry the new rule in an amicus brief filed on Monday. The companies — including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and PayPal — argued that the rule would harm their ability to recruit top talent from universities.

US District Judge Allison Burroughs announced Tuesday that the US had agreed to rescind the rule, Bloomberg first reported. But Burroughs said the case remains open, and legal experts said the Trump administration could still propose a different version of the rule.

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow heralded the administration’s decision to drop the rule, stating that Harvard will continue to plan for a fully-remote 2020-21 academic year.

“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,” Bacow said in a statement.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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