The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has rescinded his government’s policy to bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the United States, CNN reported Tuesday night.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week announced that foreign students who are pursuing degrees in the U.S. will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses.
The new visa rule received wide criticisms. While many kicked against what they considered an inhumane immigration policy, some saw it as an effort to pressure universities into reopening despite daily rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Two reputable universities in the United States, Harvard and M.I.T., filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the directive.
According to CNN, one person familiar with the matter said the White House has felt the blowback to the proposal and that some inside the West Wing believe it was poorly conceived and executed.
According to another source, the White House is now focused on having the rule apply only to new students, rather than students already in the U.S. The White House declined to comment on an ongoing policy process.
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According to U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs, the administration will return to the policy that was in effect in March, which provided more flexibility for students enrolled in schools that switched to all-online courses because of the pandemic.
MIT President L. Rafael Reif celebrated the government’s decision in a statement Tuesday.
“This case also made abundantly clear that real lives are at stake in these matters, with the potential for real harm,” he said. “We need to approach policymaking, especially now, with more humanity, more decency — not less.”