International students in the US were thrown into a bit of a crisis recently after the US government said that it would deport international students whose courses have gone fully online amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Now, a day later, on Wednesday, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have asked the courts to block the order.
The US department of State will no longer issue visas to students for schools or programs that have gone fully online for the fall semester, a release had said. "Nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States," the government release had said.
It has also decreed that active students presently in the US would be required to either depart the country or take alternative measures such as enrolling in a course or school with in-person instruction.
As per an reports, the two top universities have filed a lawsuit before the US District Court in Boston, stating that the order was "unlawful". They have requested that a restraining order be issued to put the government directive on hold.
The two are suing the Department of Homeland Security and the federal immigration agency over the new guidelines. Reportedly, the lawsuit also seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to bar the US Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement from the enforcing federal guidelines that will force international students to leave the US.
The Harvard lawsuit argues that the guidelines violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to consider "important aspects of the problem" in advance of its release, failing to provide a reasonable basis for the policy, and failing to adequately notify the public. Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow said in an email to affiliates that the "order came down without notice-its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal."
(With inputs from agencies)