Last week, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over newly announced changes regarding international student visas.
Today, Judge Allison Burroughs held a hearing regarding the litigation. Pursuant to the hearing, which lasted less than ten minutes, the government and the plaintiffs agreed to a resolution in lieu of proceeding with the litigation.
As a result of the resolution, the Department of Homeland Security’s July 6, 2020 policy canceling the exemption for international students to take solely online courses while maintaining student status has been rescinded in its entirety. Implementation of the July 6th policy is rescinded effective immediately.
The policy regarding international students and online courses is returned to the March 9th policy put in place by the government and enforcement of the July 6th policy is precluded nationally and internationally.
This means that F-1 and M-1 international students will no longer be restricted in terms of their ability to continue their education in the United States even if they are pursuing solely online classes due to school policies in line with COVID-19 protections. It is a huge victory for colleges and universities nationwide, as well as international students.
Judge Burroughs made it a point to commend all parties for their hard work and congratulated them for serving their respective clients well.