Harvard, MIT Sue US Immigration Authorities Over Order Barring International Students Harvard University (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIT and Harvard have jointly filed suit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Department of Homeland Security in federal court in Massachusetts for their order not to permit international students on F-1 visas to take a full online course load this fall while studying in the United States.

US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Monday(Jul 6) that international students on F-1 and M-1 student visas must leave the country or risk getting deported if all their fall classes are online,

“ Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration.” the announcement read. International students were previously allowed flexibility when campuses closed and learning went online in the spring and summer semesters due to COVID-19.

In the lawsuit, MIT and Harvard have asked the court to prevent ICE and DHS from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.

MIT said that ICE’s order disrupted the lives of international students and jeopardised their academic and research pursuits.

“ICE is unable to offer the most basic answers about how its policy will be interpreted or implemented. And the guidance comes after many US colleges and universities either released or are readying their final decisions for the fall – decisions designed to advance their educational mission and protect the health and safety of their communities. “ MIT added

“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,” University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in an email to affiliates. “We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal.”

International students comprise 5% of higher education enrollment in the United States, according to a study done by the Brookings Institution, and revenue from tuition and fees totals $2.5 billion. International students serve as huge revenue stream for many colleges and universities.

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