Lawsuit Against New Student Visa Rule
By: Rhea Agrawal
On July 6, the Trump Administration instilled new visa guidelines for foreign exchange students, which resulted in a lawsuit filed by America’s top universities, 17 states, and the District of Columbia, who argue that the President wasn’t considering the safety of the students.
As the end of March approached, all schools in the U.S. ultimately reached the decision that school would be closed for the rest of the year and classes would be transferred online. All college students were sent home and are currently awaiting the news of whether they shall return for the fall semester or not. President Trump is a firm believer that schools should re-open in the fall, but many people disagree with his opinion, stating that with the current surging number of cases of coronavirus, schools may not be fit to reopen in the fall. In order to push schools to open their campuses, President Trump created a new visa guideline which stated that if universities, schools, or colleges, did not have in school classes for the fall semester, then the international students would have their visas revoked.
Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer of Public Counsel, a legal aid organization in Los Angeles which represents international grad students in California, states that, “The president is using foreign students as pawns to keep all schools open, no matter the cost to the health and well-being of these students and their communities.” Rosenbaum speaks for many as he explains how the new guideline is ultimately a power play made by the government.
Anemona Hartocollis, the author of the article, explains, “At stake is the fate of possibly tens of thousands of students from all over the world who are enrolled in American universities this fall, where they represent both a major source of academic brainpower and a vital revenue stream for institutions that face deep financial losses in the pandemic.”
An example of someone affected by the current situation is Ayantu Temesgen. Temesgen is originally from Ethiopia, but attended Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts. Harvard plans to move its classes online, which would result in Temesgen being sent back to Ethiopia, where the government recently shut down the country’s internet due to civil unrest. Even if she were able to attend online classes, the time difference would be too much to bear.
On July 14, shortly before the lawsuit was taken to court, the judge, Allison D. Burroughs declared that the administration agreed to repeal the new policy and international students are allowed to remain in the country even if their classes are online. This news came as a huge relief to foreign exchange students and universities across the country, as they are now able to focus on the safety of their students, which is the main priority.