23 votes

Harvard, MIT sue US immigration authorities over new rule for foreign students

36 comments

  1. Deimos
    Link
    Here are the official releases from Harvard and MIT: Harvard release: Supporting International Students MIT release: MIT and Harvard file suit against new ICE regulations The Harvard one links to...

    Here are the official releases from Harvard and MIT:

    Harvard release: Supporting International Students

    MIT release: MIT and Harvard file suit against new ICE regulations

    The Harvard one links to the actual filing, if anyone's interested in reading it directly (PDF): https://www.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/content/sevp_filing.pdf

    9 votes
  2. [5]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    1:42 PM · Aug 18, 2015 There really is a tweet for everything.

    When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country.

    1:42 PM · Aug 18, 2015

    There really is a tweet for everything.

    15 votes
    1. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      It’s like a variant of Rule 34.

      It’s like a variant of Rule 34.

      8 votes
    2. [3]
      intuxikated
      Link Parent
      I wonder how much involvement Trump has on this. Can he legally tell these department to release a (racist) guideline? Would this not have happened if the president was different and people at...

      I wonder how much involvement Trump has on this. Can he legally tell these department to release a (racist) guideline? Would this not have happened if the president was different and people at these department were the same?

      1 vote
      1. gpl
        Link Parent
        I imagine the president has a lot of control over things like this - or rather, the president’s appointees. I doubt Trump himself came up with this idea, but he certainly approved of it and...

        I imagine the president has a lot of control over things like this - or rather, the president’s appointees. I doubt Trump himself came up with this idea, but he certainly approved of it and allowed it to go forward. This honestly sounds like a Stephen Miller policy.

        7 votes
      2. culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        @gpl is right. Especially in these unusual circumstances of a global pandemic, the president generally uses his discretion to guide his appointees and ensure they don't take measures out of line...

        @gpl is right. Especially in these unusual circumstances of a global pandemic, the president generally uses his discretion to guide his appointees and ensure they don't take measures out of line with the overall goals, principles, and priorities. Trump likely doesn't do discretion as much as whim, but at the very least this is something that supports ideas they've previously discussed.

        6 votes
  3. [30]
    intuxikated
    (edited )
    Link
    who are making these guidelines? how can someone think like this?

    Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have sued the Department of Homeland Security and the federal immigration agency over new guidelines barring foreign students from remaining in America if their universities switched to online-only classes in the Fall.

    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.


    The agency said, active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programmes must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status or potentially face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.

    who are making these guidelines? how can someone think like this?

    1. [21]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      The goal of this policy is to force universities to open in the fall or risk losing out on the 15%-20% of their revenue that comes from international students. The Trump campaign’s entire playbook...

      The goal of this policy is to force universities to open in the fall or risk losing out on the 15%-20% of their revenue that comes from international students. The Trump campaign’s entire playbook regarding the pandemic is to make things seem like they’re getting better before the election, and of course actually combatting the pandemic would take an amount of work and admission fo past mistakes that is simply not realistic for this administration. It’s the same reason they have been pushing states to reopen and been waging a campaign against masks: the more they create an outward appearance of normalcy, the more they hope people will think the pandemic is subsiding come the election.

      13 votes
      1. [20]
        Lawrencium265
        Link Parent
        It makes sense to prevent travel right now if there's no physical reason to be in the us. If they can take their courses online then they're not missing out on much anyway. The bigger issue is...

        It makes sense to prevent travel right now if there's no physical reason to be in the us. If they can take their courses online then they're not missing out on much anyway. The bigger issue is that universities have tied a large chunk of their revenue to wealthy elites who skirt taxes in their own countries (thereby underfunding their own universities) and send their kids to college abroad who than go straight back to their home country. Public universities are supposed to be an investment for the people who fund them directly and indirectly (universities don't pay property taxes and use a lot of community resources).

        1. [15]
          pvik
          Link Parent
          But this is going to force students to travel. These students are currently in US and they will have to travel back to their countries. I find this such a callous take on what is happening with...

          It makes sense to prevent travel right now if there's no physical reason to be in the us.

          But this is going to force students to travel. These students are currently in US and they will have to travel back to their countries.

          If they can take their courses online then they're not missing out on much anyway.

          I find this such a callous take on what is happening with real lives of these students.

          A lot of these students, once back in their home country will be taking their classes in US timezones. Having to take a class at say 3AM their local timezone wouldn't be ideal.

          What about financially having to burden the cost of flight in this climate to travel back to their home countries? And deal with the realities of their home countries to be able to handle coursework and online classes.

          To the rest of your post about universities and their revenue streams, I am not sure how that is relevant here. Sure, there is a huge problem with the education system in the US, and if the administration wants to target that, there are a lot of other things they can do.

          This move from the current administration primarily seems like an attempt to force universities to open up (when they shouldn't be) and using all international students as a bargaining chip.

          (I emphasized "all students" above because, sure there may be a number of these students who may hail from wealthy families skirting taxes, but a lot of them are also in the US on their own merit and on scholarships and worked really hard to get here)

          11 votes
          1. [14]
            Lawrencium265
            Link Parent
            So because a few people might be inconvenienced you're suggesting that everyone put themselves at risk by opening universities? That's insane.

            So because a few people might be inconvenienced you're suggesting that everyone put themselves at risk by opening universities? That's insane.

            1. [13]
              pvik
              Link Parent
              Where did I say that? I am arguing against sending all the international students back to their home countries.

              So because a few people might be inconvenienced you're suggesting that everyone put themselves at risk by opening universities?

              Where did I say that?

              I am arguing against sending all the international students back to their home countries.

              2 votes
              1. [12]
                Lawrencium265
                Link Parent
                To quote the article "The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programmes that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and...

                To quote the article

                "The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programmes that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States, the release said."

                Student visas already issued are for "duration of studies" and usually do not need to be renewed during that time.

                This is schools throwing a tantrum because they rely too heavily on foreign students to pay the bills. If they didn't do that then you wouldn't be hearing a peep from them.

                1. [10]
                  pvik
                  Link Parent
                  Ignoring the fact that you side-stepped my entire argument, said I was arguing to re-open universities and then are now going back to your initial argument about universities relying too heavily...

                  Ignoring the fact that you side-stepped my entire argument, said I was arguing to re-open universities and then are now going back to your initial argument about universities relying too heavily on foreign students, I am not sure if you are trolling and being intensionally obtuse.

                  But, anyways, Here is the full notice from ICE regarding this.

                  The full statement (a part of which you posted) is this:

                  Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.

                  I would like to bring to your attention, this part:

                  Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.

                  This is most definitely not a case of the schools throwing a tantrum. As /u/gpl and I have pointed out, if the US really did have an issue with the universities relying heavily on foreign students, they could handle that in a lot of different ways. This is clearly a push by the administration to strong-arm universities to open (and using international students as a scapegoat).

                  5 votes
                  1. [9]
                    Lawrencium265
                    Link Parent
                    https://www.happyschools.com/notice-usa-visa-revoked-emails-embassy/ Here's the email people have received. A visa only allows you to travel to the us and request entry. They can't kick you out if...

                    https://www.happyschools.com/notice-usa-visa-revoked-emails-embassy/

                    Here's the email people have received. A visa only allows you to travel to the us and request entry. They can't kick you out if you're currently here, you can tell by the way they phrased it that they're just trying to scare people. My initial reaction still stands, don't travel during a pandemic and don't open universities in the fall.

                    1. gpl
                      Link Parent
                      The article you linked to is actually about fake visa revocations, so I'm not sure how that is relevant. Anyway, visas allow you to enter the country with conditions, and you have to continually...

                      The article you linked to is actually about fake visa revocations, so I'm not sure how that is relevant.

                      Anyway, visas allow you to enter the country with conditions, and you have to continually fulfill those requirements in order to maintain your legal status. In order to maintain your status on an F1 visa (for example), you have to take a "full course of study". This cannot be entirely online - in fact, only one online class can count towards this. If you do not maintain your status, you lose your legal immigration status in the US. If you stay in the United States for more than 180 days without legal status, you are barred re-entry for up to 3 years. This re-entry bar is upped to 10 years if you stay longer. There can be other consequences as well.

                      In addition, we have the recent ICE directive quoted above, which states that the consequences can include the initiation of removal proceedings. This is backed up by the DHS which states

                      The United States may deport foreign nationals who participate in criminal acts, are a threat to public safety, or violate their visa. [emphasis added]

                      You state that

                      you can tell by the way they phrased it that they're just trying to scare people

                      but I see no reason to think this is the case, other than wishful thinking (especially with this administration's record on immigration).

                      The basic facts stand: ICE is saying that unless you have a full course load, you must leave the united states within 180 days of being in violation of your visa status, or risk immigration consequences. Normally this might make sense, but not when many students simply do not have the option to have the full course load as defined by DHS that they were promised.

                      3 votes
                    2. Loire
                      Link Parent
                      Ah yes. There certainly isn't a heavily militarized and heavily politicized federal department dedicated purely to immigration enforcement that will gladly kick down your door if suspecting you of...

                      Ah yes.

                      There certainly isn't a heavily militarized and heavily politicized federal department dedicated purely to immigration enforcement that will gladly kick down your door if suspecting you of Visa Fraud. No sir. Not ICE. They would never do that. As long as you are within the borders you are totally safe.

                      2 votes
                    3. [6]
                      pvik
                      Link Parent
                      I linked you to the actual notice put out by ICE. That is simply not true. Yes, a Visa is required at the port of entry, but USICS can invalidate your visa and kick you out anytime. (As a more...

                      I linked you to the actual notice put out by ICE.

                      They can't kick you out if you're currently here,

                      That is simply not true. Yes, a Visa is required at the port of entry, but USICS can invalidate your visa and kick you out anytime. (As a more common example, once a Visa expires, and you are still in the country, you will get kicked out).

                      you can tell by the way they phrased it that they're just trying to scare people.

                      And you're OK with the US government scaring Universities into opening in-person classes? Which based on what you've written you dont seem to be. So what is your point here?

                      2 votes
                      1. [5]
                        Lawrencium265
                        Link Parent
                        I still don't see how this equals universities opening up just to help their international students travel or stay in the us. It just sounds like they want an excuse to open because they were...

                        I still don't see how this equals universities opening up just to help their international students travel or stay in the us. It just sounds like they want an excuse to open because they were going to anyway.

                        1. [4]
                          pvik
                          Link Parent
                          Welp at this point I am fairly sure you're a troll, but what the hell, I got some time :) so: In case you are confused The universities are trying NOT to restart in-person classes. The Trump...

                          Welp at this point I am fairly sure you're a troll, but what the hell, I got some time :) so:

                          In case you are confused

                          The universities are trying NOT to restart in-person classes.

                          The Trump administration is trying to strong-arm them into doing so

                          In case you are still confused, the timeline regarding this from the top:

                          • Because of COVID, universities moved their courses online for their spring and summer semesters.
                          • this would've been a problem for international students because, they are allowed to register for only 3 credit hours of courses online.
                          • So there was permission granted to International students, which removed the limit on number of credit hours they can register for online courses during the pandemic.
                          • Now, the Administration is rescinding this permission.

                          F1 and M1 visas also have a requirement on the minimum number of credit hours they can sign up for, so they cant just sign up for one online course, they will need to sign up for a full course load, or their Visa will be revoked as well.

                          So, this means either the universities restart in-person classes for fall, or all their international students go back to their home countries (or transfer to universities that are providing in-person classes, forget the fact how ridiculous it is to even be able to transfer to another university starting now, before the fall semester starts).

                          Doing what the administration wants will also put all US students at higher risk.

                          2 votes
                          1. [4]
                            Comment removed by site admin
                            Link Parent
                            1. [3]
                              Deimos
                              Link Parent
                              I don't know if you're just completely misunderstanding this whole situation, if you're deliberately twisting/ignoring everything people are telling you so that you can keep pushing some...

                              I don't know if you're just completely misunderstanding this whole situation, if you're deliberately twisting/ignoring everything people are telling you so that you can keep pushing some barely-related arguments, or something else. But don't post any more comments in this thread.

                              3 votes
                              1. [2]
                                Eric_the_Cerise
                                Link Parent
                                Just curious ... it looks like @Laurencium265 has been here at Tildes for at least a year, but (I'm guessing here) after the above actions by @Deimos, he either deleted his acct, or @Deimos...

                                Just curious ... it looks like @Laurencium265 has been here at Tildes for at least a year, but (I'm guessing here) after the above actions by @Deimos, he either deleted his acct, or @Deimos removed him.

                                Two questions ...

                                1. Is there any more to the story, behind-the-scenes-moderation-wise, you can share with the group?

                                2. More generally, I don't see any good way to view his comment history ... has it all been deleted, or didn't he post anything in a year, or is the site's search engine failing me?

                                Thanks.

                                1. Deimos
                                  Link Parent
                                  They asked for their account to be deleted. If I remove a user, their user page says that they're banned. There's no way to view a deleted user's comment history or search for them. They had only...

                                  They asked for their account to be deleted. If I remove a user, their user page says that they're banned.

                                  There's no way to view a deleted user's comment history or search for them. They had only posted a handful of comments recently before this thread though, 5 comments this year.

                                  2 votes
                2. gpl
                  Link Parent
                  I will also point out (in addition to @pvik highlighting the problematic section of the current directive) that the noise isn't coming from just schools. You can find multiple articles (or just a...

                  I will also point out (in addition to @pvik highlighting the problematic section of the current directive) that the noise isn't coming from just schools. You can find multiple articles (or just a twitter search) that quote actual students who are affected by this. This isn't schools freaking out - this policy will have a real effect on students.

                  In addition, with some exceptions (topic article being one of them) schools have been woefully unresponsive to this leaving their international students in a state of great uncertainty. We're already not hearing a peep, and from what I have seen in my own networks it is mostly students and professors sounding the alarm on this. My school has only issued vague updates regarding this thus far.

                  3 votes
        2. [3]
          gpl
          Link Parent
          Yes and no. To begin, huge portions of these students are already in the United States, so this order essentially serves to deport them. Some have been in the US for upwards of a decade (if they...

          Yes and no. To begin, huge portions of these students are already in the United States, so this order essentially serves to deport them. Some have been in the US for upwards of a decade (if they completed undergrad and are in grad school here), and have pretty much made their lives here. It’s not as simple as saying “stay out until the pandemic is over.

          Additionally, there are reasons beyond classes that a student might need to be in the US, particularly graduate students. This order would prevent these students from doing lab work that can only be done in person, using resources that can only be used in the Us (computational resources with strict resumes regarding international usage, eg), and collaborating in person with their advisor and group.

          Finally, immigrants are typically actually a boon to the US economy, and students are no exception. They contribute to the local economy, indirectly fund the university through increased tuition and fees, and will often settle here after graduation. There are plenty of rich foreign elites who send their kids here for an education, but that is such a limited view of the types of people who come here to study. Not all international students are rich - for many this is their big break after years of hard work and study. Many are first generation college students, and many are first generation graduate students.

          Finally, even if they could take all of their classes online, the experience and effectiveness of an online education is not the equivalent of the in-person education offered by these institutions. There is a reason people uproot their lives and move for education even when online options exist.

          This is a bad thing for these communities, US higher education, US prominence in science and technology, and the nation as a whole.

          It is of course an issue that universities have been mismanaged to the point that they need this extra revenue, but I don’t think that’s the real issue here.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Lawrencium265
            Link Parent
            The order doesn't actually allow them to deport students who are currently in the country as a visa is only a travel document. I also don't agree that anybody should be attending University in the...

            The order doesn't actually allow them to deport students who are currently in the country as a visa is only a travel document. I also don't agree that anybody should be attending University in the fall in person, it's completely bonkers to me that anybody would consider doing anything in person. Lastly I allowing more foreign students causes domestic students to be displaced. We're selling out higher education and that's frankly something I'm highly uncomfortable with. Those 'economic boosts' come in the form of low paying wage slave jobs. There are kids who can't even get a decent primary education that live in the shadows of major universities that they can only dream of ever attending. I'd rather close every university in the country and redistribute the funds to primary education than continue on the current path we're on.

            1. gpl
              Link Parent
              We actually agree here, which is why I don't think this administration should threaten to withhold funds in an effort to force re-openings. A part of this effort is the international student ban...

              I also don't agree that anybody should be attending University in the fall in person, it's completely bonkers to me that anybody would consider doing anything in person.

              We actually agree here, which is why I don't think this administration should threaten to withhold funds in an effort to force re-openings. A part of this effort is the international student ban in question, according to administration officials.

              Lastly I allowing more foreign students causes domestic students to be displaced. We're selling out higher education and that's frankly something I'm highly uncomfortable with.

              This isn't really the case. More international students playing full fees can actually subsidize cheaper tuition and scholarships for American students (the whole op-ed is pretty good):

              And contrary to perceptions that foreign students take spots that belong to Americans, at many schools they’re enabling more American students to get a degree.

              In the years after the financial crisis, as states slashed budgets for higher education, schools helped make up the shortfall by enrolling more out-of-state and international students. These students generally pay full tuition, and their higher fees are used to cross-subsidize lower, in-state tuition rates (and scholarships) of American classmates.

              2 votes
        3. Atvelonis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Would preface my response by saying that I don't support reopening colleges unless there are procedures in place to reduce its spread on campus, if testing is done for all students, and if the...

          If they can take their courses online then they're not missing out on much anyway.

          Would preface my response by saying that I don't support reopening colleges unless there are procedures in place to reduce its spread on campus, if testing is done for all students, and if the area they're in isn't experiencing a massive surge of cases. But I do think it's necessary to remember that online class is way more than an "inconvenience" for students; it seriously damages their education and careers.

          I wrote a comment about this the other day which goes into some depth. Economically underprivileged students are disproportionately affected by these changes (NYT), but no student is free from the inherent difficulties of online learning.

          3 votes
    2. [3]
      pvik
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      When I read about the new guidelines for international Students yesterday, my reaction was "that sounds like something the current administration would do". I am honestly surprised with your...

      who are making these guidelines? how can someone think like this?

      When I read about the new guidelines for US international Students yesterday, my reaction was "that sounds like something the current administration would do".

      I am honestly surprised with your reaction and that you had to even ask this question; after more than 3 years of this dumpster-fire of an administration I guess I am way more desensitized to these than I thought!

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        intuxikated
        Link Parent
        did you mean international students?

        new guidelines for US Students

        did you mean international students?

        1 vote
        1. pvik
          Link Parent
          yup! sorry! had meant to write Foreign students in US

          yup! sorry! had meant to write Foreign students in US

          2 votes
    3. [5]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      Technically these guidelines were always in-place. Normally, international students are not allowed to take online classes; there was an exception last Spring, and this guideline is removing that...

      who are making these guidelines? how can someone think like this?

      Technically these guidelines were always in-place. Normally, international students are not allowed to take online classes; there was an exception last Spring, and this guideline is removing that exception.

      Of course, it's not like anything's really changed wrg to COVID19, but it may make the legal fight more difficult that it's reverting a special exception, rather than pushing a new guideline.

      1 vote
      1. pvik
        Link Parent
        To add more context to what /u/stu2b50 said: Here is the official notice from ICE. The default norm for F1 and M1 students it to have no more than 3 credit hours of online courses. However, the...

        To add more context to what /u/stu2b50 said: Here is the official notice from ICE.

        Due to COVID-19, SEVP instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.

        The default norm for F1 and M1 students it to have no more than 3 credit hours of online courses.

        However, the students currently in the US are not in a full-time online course (afaik, USICS would not even approve a F1 visa for those kind of courses). Due to COVID, their regular classes have been moved online.

        In terms of how useful this legal battle will be, I am sure MIT and Harvard have some decent lawyers, who would've thought of what to achieve with!

        Also, as /u/glp said, a reasonable administration would have dealt with this better.
        However, with Trump pushing to re-open schools, this may be more than just an oversight, and a deliberate attempt to push universities to start having in-person classes as well.

        4 votes
      2. [3]
        intuxikated
        Link Parent
        But, These classes were originally offline, they are going online due to lockdown, right? Why should law enforcement care about these nuances? am I missing something?

        But, These classes were originally offline, they are going online due to lockdown, right? Why should law enforcement care about these nuances? am I missing something?

        1. culturedleftfoot
          Link Parent
          The US government's general approach to international students (and most foreign nationals, really) has often been to view them as potential illegal immigrants first and foremost.

          The US government's general approach to international students (and most foreign nationals, really) has often been to view them as potential illegal immigrants first and foremost.

          5 votes
        2. gpl
          Link Parent
          From a legal perspective, if these visas stipulate that the student must be enrolled in in-person classes, and they are not, then they are in violation of those requirements. I doubt there’s an...

          From a legal perspective, if these visas stipulate that the student must be enrolled in in-person classes, and they are not, then they are in violation of those requirements. I doubt there’s an “extenuating circumstances” clause in there to account for situations in which there are no in person classes.

          So technically law enforcement is following the letter of the law here (I’m not an expert, but the tangential experience I do have with these student visas does indicate online classes don’t cut it - there may be some classes of visas this normally wouldn’t affect, or something else I am missing). Of course, a reasonable administration would direct ICE not to enforce this because, well, there are few in person classes. This is not a reasonable administration.

          4 votes