16 international student-athletes are suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over restrictions keeping them from their campuses and sports teams.
Over the summer, ICE announced that if a school was offering only online courses, international students at that school would not be allowed to stay in the United States on student visas. Those students would have to leave the country to complete their online courses or transfer to a school with in-person classes.
That announcement was widely criticized. Harvard and MIT, backed by multiple other schools, asked a court to bar DHS and ICE from enforcing the rule. A federal judge announced in July that DHS and ICE would have to walk the rule back and allow students to remain in the United States on their student visas.
But ICE later clarified that it would only allow returning international students. New students coming to the United States for school would not be allowed to enter the country unless they were actively enrolled at a school before March 9.
The lawsuit focuses on incoming freshmen or new student-athletes, like Australian basketball player Izzy Anstey, who had signed with UCLA, but is now unable to enter the country to compete with the team for her freshman year.
The suit claims that the distinction between returning students and new students is arbitrary, and unfairly harms first-year students. Per Yahoo, the suit could be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals as soon as Friday.