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Miriam Jordan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Dan Levin, NYT, July 8, 2020
"A directive by the Trump administration that would strip international college students of their U.S. visas if their coursework was entirely online prompted widespread confusion on Tuesday as students scrambled to clarify their statuses and universities reassessed their fall reopening policies amid the coronavirus pandemic. The White House measure, announced on Monday, was seen as an effort to pressure universities into reopening their gates and abandoning the cautious approaches that many have announced they would adopt to reduce Covid-19 transmission. The effect may be to dramatically reduce the number of international students enrolling in the fall. Together with delays in processing visas as a result of the pandemic, immigrant advocates say the new rules, which must still be finalized this month, might discourage many overseas students from attending American universities, where they often pay full tuition. ... On Wednesday, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the administration in federal court, saying the directive would prevent many of Harvard’s approximately 5,000 international students from remaining in the country while studying online. The suit seeks a temporary restraining order and injunction preventing the government from enforcing the policy, saying it was improperly implemented. Harvard’s president, Lawrence S. Bacow, called the administration’s action cruel and reckless and said in a statement that it appeared to have been designed to pressure universities to hold in-person classes “without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors and others.”"