Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia are suing to block the Trump Administration from implementing a new policy that would strip international students of their visas if they only attend classes online, the Hill reports. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many universities are contemplating offering only virtual classes, it notes.
The policy, which was announced last week, rescinds an exemption issued in March that allowed international students with F-1 or M-1 visas to stay in the US even as classes moved online, Politico reports. It notes that when the March directive was issued, ICE said it would be temporary, but also that it would last the length of the crisis.
In their lawsuit, the states argue the new policy is "arbitrary and capricious" and violates the Administrative Procedure Act, according to the Hill. Politico adds the suit claims ICE announced the policy without the required notice or comment period.
"The Trump Administration didn't even attempt to explain the basis for this senseless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, whose office is leading the states' suit, tells the Hill.
Harvard University and MIT announced their own lawsuit last week, and the Hill notes California also filed a suit last week.