US government backs down on online study ban


The announcement was made by U.S. District Court Judge Burroughs during an online hearing in a case brought against the government by Harvard and MIT.

This result concerns the transformative power of our collective action

The government agreed to rescind the July 6 political directive and the FAQ published the next day, as well as revert to the status quo described in the March 9 political directive and its March 13 addendum.

“We are pleased that our institutions and students now have the flexibility to enter a very difficult and uncertain fall semester,” said Sarah Spreitzer, director of the government and public affairs department at the American Council on Education. The news from PIE.

The ICE had previously claimed that having international students studying online in the country posed a threat to national security.

“Continue to allow international students with a valid F-1 or M-1 visa and enrolled in or entering the United States to begin a full-time program of study in a university program conducted online or which may be upgraded to a Distance learning during the semester is the smart and humane thing to do, ”said American Council on Education president Ted Mitchell.

“This helps ensure that the United States remains the destination of choice for the world’s most talented students and scholars, with all the benefits it brings. “

Other major international education organizations responded positively to the news, but also urged a cautious response, noting that other barriers to international students coming to the United States remain.

“This is an extremely important result for international students and colleges. And we are grateful to ICE and DHS for listening, ”said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Alliance of Presidents on Higher Education and Immigration.

“But, make no mistake, this result is about the transformative power of our collective action and the swift and visible outrage of many, including presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities across the country. The fight is not over yet, ”she continued.

“Threats to immigrants and international students are still looming. We must continue this fight for international students, their ability to come to the United States to learn, study and have the opportunity to work, innovate and contribute to our nation. ”

Some were more critical of the government, with the American Civil Liberties Union saying its ‘anti-immigrant agenda knows no bounds’, while others took to social media to express their views. .

“This victory belongs to those who have said enough. We are grateful to the students and institutions, including Harvard, MIT and so many others who have stood up for their students and classmates – in the courts, on the streets and during policy changes, ”said Andrea Flores, Deputy Director of Immigration Policy.

“Fortunately, this attack on the students is over. But the administration will no doubt continue in its failure to protect the American people by using the pandemic for its hateful agenda of dismantling our immigration system, rather than creating a coordinated response for the future of our nation.

“These actions continue to do one thing: harm us all. But today we are reminded that victories are possible – our struggle continues. ”

Andrew Ullman, co-founder of University Bridge, said they were “delighted” to learn of the repeal.

It was especially heartwarming to see Americans, business and the US higher education sector unite to fight – and defeat – these particularly cruel proposed policies, ”he added.

Marty Bennett of SMIE Consulting called the decision “a much needed boost for American international educators after three and a half years of decisions by this administration that have continually drained our morale and damaged the reputation of the United States as a welcoming destination for international students ”.

“Today we are reminded that victories are possible – our struggle continues”

Two of the main unanswered questions are whether this decision – allowing online education for international students in the United States – would apply to new incoming international students and whether those who complete their studies abroad would still be. eligible for OPT “, he added.


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