Top Universities Back Harvard, MIT Lawsuit Over Student Visas

Almost 60 U.S. universities filed a brief supporting Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in their effort to stop the Trump administration from enforcing new visa guidelines that would bar some international students from entering and staying in the country to attend college.

Stanford and Duke universities, and the seven other Ivy League schools, filed an amicus brief Sunday night in the case. They’re being represented by Jenner & Block, which was among several law firms that convinced the Supreme Court to protect young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.

Harvard and MIT sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency last week after it issued the new rules which would block visas for applicants studying at colleges that only offer virtual instruction. Students on existing visas who want to remain in the U.S. must transfer to a school with in-person instruction or attend one that offers both remote and on-campus learning.

The Trump administration’s decision to rescind a coronavirus exemption to ICE’s in-person class requirements was “arbitrary and capricious,” Harvard and MIT said. It also violates the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to allow public comment and consider harm to students, they said.

Late Friday they filed a request for a preliminary injunction. A hearing is scheduled for July 15.

The case is President and Fellows of Harvard College v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 20-cv-11283, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.

— With assistance by Janet Lorin

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