Culture

Harvard and MIT Sue Immigration Authorities Over Order Forcing Foreign Students to Leave the U.S.

The new policy would disrupt studies for scores of international students.

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Harvard and MIT Sue Immigration Authorities Over Order Forcing Foreign Students to Leave the U.S.

The new policy would disrupt studies for scores of international students.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over a recently announced order mandating that international students leave the country or risk deportation if their schools have switched to online-only courses.

According to court documents, the complaint seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief preventing authorities from enforcing the new policy, which was announced on July 6. Harvard, which will hold all fall semester classes online, described the order as “deeply misguided.”

“We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students — and international students at institutions across the country — can continue their studies without the threat of deportation,” Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote in an e-mail, originally reported on by The Harvard Crimson.

Critics have pointed out that ICE’s order does not account for students from countries enforcing travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students from countries with limited internet access, cultures that restrict women from pursuing an education and their own COVID-19 outbreaks are also left with few viable options. Though international students may transfer to another institution offering a combination of in-person and virtual courses, many will find their studies disrupted by the policy.

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The Harvard Crimson
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