ICE Rescinds Rule Barring Foreign Students From Online-Only School This Fall

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Homeland Security are walking back the early July ruling that foreign students whose schools opted to go all-online for the fall 2020 semester must leave the country or transfer to a school with some on-campus classes.

The move was announced by federal judge Allison D. Burroughs at a hearing on Tuesday for the case Harvard and MIT filed last week asking the courts to bar DHS and ICE from enforcing the rule, the Harvard Crimson reported. Hundred of other schools had backed Harvard and MIT’s suit.

Now, ICE will stick with the update to its rules issued in March that allow students taking online courses to reside in the United States on F-1 visas.

“Both the policy directive and the frequently asked questions would not be enforced anyplace,” Burroughs said, according to the New York Times.

The rescinded ruling actually gave international students more flexibility for hybrid class models than were allowed under normal visa rules, but was a rollback of more open rules that were in place for the spring and summer semesters of 2020. Under normal circumstances, international students can only take one class or three credit hours online.

In addition to the universities involved, the attorneys general of at least 18 states also sued, according to the Times. They said that the policy was “reckless, cruel and senseless.”On Tuesday, over a dozen technology companies publicly supported the lawsuit, the Times reported, saying that the policy would “harm their businesses”

“America’s future competitiveness depends on attracting and retaining talented international students,” the companies said in court papers, according to the Times.

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Way to go Harvard and MIT and the other schools who supported them!


Trump adminstration got zipped up really quickly. Super pathetic to even try this in the first place.


It’s unfortunate how much the comment section has turned political recently. Anyways, this is positive news!


Not sure how this wouldn’t be political…literally no logical reasoning for his administration trying to institute this.

Hank Monroe

You must have missed the prior article written on this and the comments that followed. Brayden even clarified the following:
“The ruling was actually made to open up restrictions. There’s typically a 1 class/3-hour restriction for online instruction for students in the US on visas. This ruling will actually expand those limits for those who are attending colleges with hybrid models this year. It just didn’t expand it *all the way*.

Now they’ve gone all the way.


How could it not be? The Administration made it political.

Hank Monroe

How did they make it political?

Swimmer A

It’s domestic policy. It’s inherently political.


A noteworthy quote from the judge: ““I have been informed by the parties that they have come to a resolution,” she said at the start of proceedings. “They will return to the status quo.”

Hank Monroe

The rule that the Trump administrator eased up on to begin with they are now easing up on even more.

Swimmer A

Then why did he put this rule out there to begin with?

Swimmer A



He didn’t, the “rule” has been around for a while now and may have been updated over the years.

Hank Monroe

Correct, student Visas have been issued for at least 23 years.


Many people in the international education field seem to think the guidance announced by ICE on July 6 was a strategy for the Trump administration to put pressure on colleges and universities to not offer only online class options (such as what Harvard had announced it was doing for the upcoming semester). Opening up schools in theory would help the economy, which in turn in theory could help Trump. It did not seem to have much, if anything, to do with public health matters or even anti-foreigner ideology, although that’s certainly debatable. Whatever the real motivation(s) behind it, it’s great news that they rescinded it. Could have had very real seriously negative immediate impacts on international students in the US.… Read more »


Amazing news

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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