The Ivy Coach Daily

July 12, 2020

Harvard and MIT Sue DHS and ICE Over International Student Guidelines

MIT and Harvard have filed suit against the federal government over new guidelines that restrict the ability of international students at some universities to stay in the U.S. during the pandemic (photo credit: John Phelan).

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have clapped back at the feds, filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over their new federal guidelines that prohibit international students from staying in the U.S. to attend a university if the school is offering online-only courses. On July 6th, ICE announced that international students would either have to transfer to a new university or leave the country if their college switched to online-only instruction. Earlier that same day, Harvard — likely unaware that the feds would be announcing these new guidelines just hours later — announced that classes would be strictly online in the fall even though up to 40% of undergraduates will be allowed to live on campus.

Bad Public Policy that Harvard and MIT Believe Is Illegal

As Camille G. Calera and Michelle G. Kurilla report for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Harvard, MIT Sue Immigration Authorities Over Rule Barring International Students from Online-Only Universities,” “The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to bar the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement from enforcing federal guidelines barring international students attending colleges and universities offering only online courses from staying in the United States. The guidelines would mandate that they transfer to an institution offering in-person instruction or risk ’immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.’ ’The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,’ [Harvard President Lawrence S.] Bacow wrote in an email to affiliates. ’We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal.’”

Ivy Coach Stands with Harvard and MIT

Ivy Coach stands firmly with Harvard and MIT in denouncing these new guidelines issued by the federal government — guidelines we too believe to be both discriminatory and unlawful. Consider this our amicus brief. In the days to come, we anticipate that many highly selective colleges — including the other seven Ivy League institutions — will file actual amicus briefs in support of Harvard and MIT’s contention that these new guidelines are discriminatory and unlawful. America’s universities are designed to educate the world’s citizens. How can they continue this vital mission during this intensely stressful time of the COVID-19 pandemic if international students are being threatened with deportation?

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