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Vanderbilt among universities trying to stop new visa rules for international students

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 19:01:44-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Vanderbilt University is one of 50 universities and colleges trying to stop a change in visa rules that would force international students to leave the country if their school offers remote-only instruction in the fall.

On July 6, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it was rescinding its COVID-19 exemption for international students, requiring any student on a F-1 visa whose university instruction is entirely online to leave the country.

The schools filed an amicus brief Monday in support of a lawsuit by Harvard and MIT against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy.

“These policies must be rescinded because they will have potentially disastrous consequences,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said in a release on Vanderbilt's website. “International students contribute greatly to the innovation and knowledge creation happening at America’s great research universities. Now more than ever, during a global pandemic with impacts for years to come, we need to invest in our shared human potential through open collaboration and research.”

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to enjoin the rules from going into effect, citing the value of international diversity to America’s colleges and universities and asserting that new directive violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

The participating schools say the new guidance places a burden on universities, causing them to have to, in a period of weeks, revisit decisions made after months of planning based on the government’s previous guidance.