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After several universities and states sue, the Trump administration has rescinded ICE guidance that would not grant student visas to international students taking a full online course load.

July 14, 2020

After Universities and States Sue, Trump Administration Rescinds Student Visa Restrictions

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The Trump administration rescinded the controversial ICE guidance to strip student visas for international students taking a full online course load in the fall on Tuesday.

This move comes after several universities, including Cornell, joined an amicus brief filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology challenging the new rules. Judge Allison Burroughs announced at the beginning of court proceedings Tuesday that the parties “have come to a resolution” and “will return to the status quo.”

The amicus brief filed by universities was not the only challenge to the ICE regulations: 18 states also filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court of Massachusetts Monday — the same court where Harvard and MIT filed their suit. Court proceedings had not yet begun for this suit.

In a Tuesday evening statement to the Cornell community, President Martha E. Pollack wrote that the decision was a “significant victory for all Cornellians and for international students at institutions throughout the country.”

“The fall semester will still present challenges, but we are heartened that this will no longer be one of them,” Pollack wrote. She added that International Services will follow up with more detailed communication to international students.

Both suits brought up the argument that ICE claimed student visa exemptions would be upheld “for the duration of the emergency”, leaving universities unprepared to accommodate these regulations with the fall semester looming.

The universities also claimed in their suit that the decision was made “as an effort by the federal government to force universities to reopen in-person classes.”

Cornell did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Update, July 14, 5:30 p.m.: This article was updated to include a statement from President Martha E. Pollack.