California will challenge the administration of US President Donald Trump over its policy threatening the visas of foreign students whose courses move online due to coronavirus, the state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Thursday.
“The Trump Administration’s unlawful policy threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and exile hundreds of thousands of college students studying in the United States,” said a statement announcing the suit.
“No one graduates more students from college or assembles a more talented and diverse group of future leaders than California,” Becerra said.
“Today’s lawsuit rests on America’s enduring principle that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can earn a chance to get ahead. We’ll see the Trump administration in court,”Becerra added.
Outrage has trailed Trump’s administration’s announcement this week that international students in the United States must take in-person classes this fall or they will have to leave the country or transfer to another college.
Reacting to the guidance issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), about 100 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, urging the department to revoke the policy.
“ICE’s announcement of their plans to force out or deport international students who remain at U.S. colleges and universities and who are taking a full online course load is cruel and unconscionable,” the letter reads.
Meanwhile, the University of Southern California (USC) on Thursday announced that it will offer a no-cost, in-person class to international students that need it to maintain their visa status.
In a statement Wednesday on its website, USC said: “USC’s vibrant international community is vital to our University and has been since our founding in 1880. We are deeply troubled by the updated guidance that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released Monday requiring international students to take at least one in-person class to maintain their visa status. Issued without warning or broad consultation, the policy could negatively impact countless international students, and restrict research and competitiveness not only here but at research universities across the nation. We are very proud of our international students and their families across the world, many of whom have sacrificed so much to enable them to come to America. This policy is especially concerning as it comes in the midst of a global health pandemic when universities need the autonomy and flexibility to adopt nuanced, multi-faceted models of instruction and research while preserving the health, safety and well-being of all our students, faculty, and staff.”
“To our international student community – please know that we are strongly advocating against this policy and are working closely and collaboratively with higher education colleagues across the nation. USC’s deans and senior leadership are working tirelessly with the faculty to support your academic progress. Given the broad range of courses being offered, both in person and online, we are optimistic we will be able to support our international students to study in person safely if they wish, but it may take a few days. We understand that you have many time-sensitive decisions. We will write soon with more details and options, and appreciate your patience,” the statement read.