ICE drops rule barring foreign students from taking online-only classes

ICE foreign students

A moment of relief for International students and institutes as ICE won’t bar foreign students from taking online-only classes in the upcoming semester.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security will no longer require foreign students who are taking virtual courses in the fall to leave the country.

The renowned Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology took legal action against government new policy which was announced on the 6th of July regarding international students who are taking virtual or online-only classes would have to leave the country or else transfer to a new school/college or university which offers in-person classes. Later on, Harvard and Massachusetts universities were backed by tech giants who endorsed the universities’ objective.

Tech giants joined universities against the ICE rule foreign students

Facebook, Google along with other companies supported universities and filed a court letter in which they reasoned that the current announced policy brings difficulty for international students to further study in the US premises.

They reasoned that not only the decision will have a negative influence on the businesses but also on International STEM workers these organizations depend on. But before the court could listen to both party arguments, two sides reached a mutual agreement.

International students cannot take online courses while remaining in the US; this was the law before coronavirus pandemic started. After a rise in COVID-19, all institutes shifted towards virtual classes and ICE changed rules for foreign students and allowed students to take some online classes but again later on revoked its previous decision and announced International students can return to their country if they are only taking online classes.

According to Judge Allison Burroughs in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts:

“The Court was informed by the parties that they have come to a resolution to the combined temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction motions,” read the court docket, according to NPR. “The Government has agreed to rescind July 6, 2020, Policy Directive and the July 7, 2020 FAQ, and has also agreed to rescind their implementation.”

A major win for Harvard, MIT, and giant tech companies at the moment but the current policy is not certainly permanent.

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