UPDATE: US Rescinds Visa Policy: STrib: U of M Trying to Avoid Visa Issues for International Athletes

Ignatius L Hoops

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Gophers athletes voiced concerns this week over strict new federal guidelines potentially forcing some foreign students to leave the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday that visas would not be issued to nonimmigrant students enrolled in online-only school this fall — meaning those students would have to return to their home country or transfer to schools with in-person classes.

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel e-mailed her faculty, students and staff Tuesday to address any fears, reminding them of the university’s plan for a hybrid model of online and in-person classes this fall.

“We stand with our international students,” Gabel wrote.

Ihnen, a Germany native and Richard Pitino’s top recruit last year, posted “Wow” on Instagram along with an article about ICE possibly kicking thousands of students out of the U.S.

Not having international students would shake up certain Gophers sports more than others. The men’s and women’s track and field teams have a combined 15 athletes from outside the U.S. The men’s and women’s tennis teams have 11 of their 17 players from foreign countries.

Ranta, a Finland native, is one of the men’s hockey team’s most talented players. He is still at home after finishing the spring semester online. The Gophers’ starting goalie, Jack LaFontaine, hails from Canada
 

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MIT and Harvard sue ICE and Department of Homeland Security to prevent enforcement of new visa guidelines:

To the members of the MIT community,

On Monday, in a surprising development, a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that it will not permit international students on F-1 visas to take a full online course load this fall while studying in the United States. As I wrote yesterday, this ruling has potentially serious implications for MIT’s international students and those enrolled at institutions across the country.

This morning, in response, MIT and Harvard jointly filed suit against ICE and the US Department of Homeland Security in federal court in Massachusetts. In the lawsuit, we ask the court to prevent ICE and DHS from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.

The announcement disrupts our international students’ lives and jeopardizes their academic and research pursuits. ICE is unable to offer the most basic answers about how its policy will be interpreted or implemented. And the guidance comes after many US colleges and universities either released or are readying their final decisions for the fall – decisions designed to advance their educational mission and protect the health and safety of their communities.
 

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University of Minnesota files amicus brief in support of the Harvard and MIT law suit.


University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel announced today that the University will join an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit that challenges recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) restrictions on visas for international students. Minnesota is one of a growing number of universities nationwide, including many of its Big Ten peers, that are filing amicus briefs in support of the Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology lawsuit against the federal government.

Minnesota and other universities are seeking relief from a July 6, 2020 ICE directive, which would require nonimmigrant students who take a fully online course load this fall to immediately leave the United States. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, asks the court to “prevent ICE and [the Department of Homeland Security] from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.”

“Our planned hybrid teaching model this fall supports both in-person and online courses, which should reduce the impact of ICE’s decision on our nearly 6,200 international students systemwide,” Gabel said. “However, we cannot stand by in good conscience as international students are forced out of the country through no fault of their own. Educational institutions across the country are offering expanded online learning opportunities to comply with the public health advice given by another federal agency—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—to reduce large gatherings, promote physical distancing and take other precautions to minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19
 

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The U.S. backed down from a high-profile confrontation with Harvard and MIT over visas for foreign students who take online-only classes, ending a tense standoff that could have sent thousands of students back to their home countries and left colleges scrambling to plan for the fall.

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs on Tuesday announced that the U.S. had agreed to rescind a new policy requiring the students to take at least one in-person class, even amid the pandemic.

The hearing followed a separate lawsuit by 17 states states and a dozen “friend of the court” briefs filed in support of the Harvard suit from hundreds of universities and some of the country’s largest tech companies.
 
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