Seventeen US states and the metropolitan area of Columbia sued President Donald Trump’s administration to demand restrictive student visas. Earlier, the administration demanded that foreigners study on a student visa in the USA in full-time or leave the country. At the same time, most universities intend to maintain in the near future restrictions on full-time studies due to the pandemic of the coronavirus infection COVID-19.
The state lawsuit calls the federal government’s actions “brutal, sudden, and illegal.” The statement of claim states that administration measures lead either to the actual expulsion of students or to the unsafe resumption of full-time studies in the midst of an epidemic in the United States.
“Colleges and universities are faced with a painful dilemma. If they want to ensure that all their students can stay in the USA and continue their studies, they should try to provide enough full-time classes on a variety of topics for hundreds of thousands of international students, and this is only a few weeks before beginning of the semester, without any attention to public health, “the 34-page lawsuit says.
“The alternative is to lose a significant number of international students who will be forced to leave the country and participate in online classes as much as possible, or transfer to a faculty with full-time education, or even leave the university,” the lawsuit said.
The court is required to postpone the date the order comes into force, and then completely cancel it and prohibit its implementation.
“The Trump administration has not even tried to explain the reasons for this brutal measure, which forces faculties to choose between preserving their international students and protecting health and safety on their campuses,” said Massachusetts attorney general Mora Healy on behalf of the states.
Similar claims have already been filed by California, which is not involved in the current lawsuit, and jointly by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The first hearing on this issue will be held this week in Boston.
The prospects for the lawsuits are unclear: according to previous decisions of the Supreme Court, the executive branch has wide prerogatives in which foreigners and on what grounds are allowed to enter the United States. However, a case may take a long time and de facto allow foreign students to continue distance learning on a temporary basis without leaving the United States.