A coalition of states and Washington are suing the Trump administration over its rule that prevents international students from staying in the United States if their school only offers online courses in the upcoming fall.
The administration has been facing widespread criticism and multiple lawsuits for promulgating the rule, which is said to have created uncertainty for about a million of international students in the United States. Many academic institutions, who are already struggling to navigate the logistical challenges of safely resuming classes amid the CCP virus pandemic, are also taking actions in an effort to block the enforcement of the rule.
The lawsuit alleges that the new rule would cause substantial irreparable harm to states, schools, and students because the Trump administration had failed to consider the public health and safety amid the ongoing pandemic. The 17 states and Washington are home to a combined 1,124 colleges and universities and hosted over 373,000 international students last year, which equates to $14,502,646,811 of revenue to those states' economies in that year, the attorney generals say.
It also said the effect of the rule would deprive the university community of the "perspectives, skills, and talents of so many international students," as well as bring a loss to the economy.
The states' lawsuit is also asking the court to delay the rule from going into effect.
Along with Massachusetts and the U.S. Capital, states including Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are participating in the suit.
President Donald Trump has been pushing for schools to reopen in fall 2020, which is tied to his effort to help the country resume normal economic functions. During a roundtable discussion with health experts, educators, students, and parents on Tuesday, Trump said he will pressure governors to reopen, saying that he believes that the governors who didn’t were doing it for political reasons.
"We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons, they think it’s gonna be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed, no way," Trump said. "We’re very much going to put pressure on the governors and everybody else to open the schools."
Under ICE’s announcement, students who are attending schools that offer both a mixture of online and in-person classes are allowed to take more than one class online as long as the schools certify that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking the course entirely online that semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make progress in their degree program.