Har­vard and MIT sue US over stu­dent visa order

The National - News - - NEWS | EMIRATES - THE NA­TIONAL

Two lead­ing US uni­ver­si­ties asked a court to block an order by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion threat­en­ing the visas of for­eign stu­dents whose courses moved on­line dur­ing the pan­demic.

Har­vard Univer­sity and the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy lodged the law­suit af­ter the US Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforcemen­t agency said on Mon­day that the af­fected stu­dents must leave the coun­try or switch to a school with in-per­son tu­ition.

“We will pur­sue this case vig­or­ously so that our in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, and in­ter­na­tional stu­dents at in­sti­tu­tions across the coun­try, can con­tinue their stud­ies with­out the threat of de­por­ta­tion,” Har­vard pres­i­dent Lawrence Ba­cow said.

The im­mi­gra­tion agency said the US State Depart­ment would not is­sue visas to stu­dents en­rolled in pro­grammes that are fully on­line for the au­tumn se­mes­ter. It said that such stu­dents would not be al­lowed to en­ter the coun­try.

Uni­ver­si­ties with a mix­ture of in-per­son and on­line classes will have to show that for­eign stu­dents are tak­ing an equal num­ber of both to main­tain their sta­tus.

Mr Trump is push­ing uni­ver­si­ties and schools to fully open when the aca­demic year starts in Septem­ber, de­spite the US reg­is­ter­ing record num­bers of Covid-19 in­fec­tions.

He threat­ened to with­hold fed­eral money if schools did not re­open in au­tumn and lashed out at fed­eral health of­fi­cials over school re­open­ing guide­lines that he said were im­prac­ti­cal and ex­pen­sive.

The threat to re­voke stu­dent visas was con­sid­ered to be a move by the White House to ex­ert pres­sure on uni­ver­si­ties that are adopt­ing a cau­tious ap­proach to re­open­ing dur­ing the pan­demic.

“The order came down with­out no­tice, its cru­elty sur­passed only by its reck­less­ness,” Mr Ba­cow said.

He said it was made “with­out re­gard to con­cerns for the health and safety of stu­dents, in­struc­tors and oth­ers”.

There were more than one mil­lion in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the US for the 2018-2019 aca­demic year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.