On July 14, 2020, the Trump Administration backed down from its proposed plan to deny and rescind visas from students studying online at U.S. schools.
On July 6, 2020, ICE announced that foreign students who plan to take fully online courses will not get student visas, and online-only students already in the United States need to leave the country or risk being deported.
Analysts viewed the move as an attempt by the White House to pressure universities to reopen their campuses to in-person classes, instead of the approaches that many schools have spent months in planning to try to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
At least three separate lawsuits seeking to block the new rules have already been filed. On July 8, Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit. The following day, the State of California filed its own legal challenge. And on July 13, a group of 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a legal complaint.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey noted that the “Trump administration didn’t even attempt to explain the basis for this senseless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses.”
To date, more than 200 universities have presented briefs in support of the legal challenges to the proposed restrictions.
It appears that the Trump Administration succumbed to the overwhelming criticisms and legal challenges to the new rule, abruptly abandoning its position only 8 days after announcing it.