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Immigration Law

Guilford College v. Nielsen - Colleges Sue USCIS Over 'Unlawful Presence' Policy Memo

Suzanne Monyak, Law360, Oct. 23, 2018 - "A group of higher education institutions, including Haverford College and The New School, challenged a recent Trump administration policy that could open up more international students to harsh immigration penalties, saying in a lawsuit filed in North Carolina federal court Tuesday that the policy change will hurt both the students and American universities.

The institutions — which include two private liberal arts colleges, a research university and a district of community colleges — slammed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' new policy, effective Aug. 9, which changed the way the agency calculates the number of days a nonimmigrant foreign student has been present in the U.S without legal permission.

Under the new policy, USCIS will backdate the clock, tracking accrued days of unlawful presence to the date the student initially fell out of status rather than starting the clock at the later date that the agency formally concludes there has been a violation. After the student has been unlawfully present for 180 consecutive days, the student is barred from re-entering the U.S. for three years, and after being unlawfully present for a year, the student is barred from re-entry for a decade.

In their complaint, the institutions said the policy change has forced international students to drop out of school to avoid accruing time after their immigration status has lapsed, disrupting the students' education and depriving the schools of tuition money."