Universities have a case against Trump's student visa decision — but they won't like the outcome. By Nolan Rappaport



© Getty Images

On July 6, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) issued a directive that effectively said if American colleges and universities continue teaching entirely online this fall, their nonimmigrant foreign students will have to leave the United States.

Specifically, the July 6 guidelines say:
  1. Nonimmigrant students attending schools operating entirely online may not remain in the United States. Students at a school that adopts such a program must leave the United States or make other arrangements, such as transferring to a school with in-person classes.
  1. Nonimmigrant students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. They may only count a single three credit online course per semester towards meeting the “full course of study” requirement.
  1. Nonimmigrant students attending schools with a mixture of online and in person classes will be permitted to take more than one three credit course online, but their schools will have to certify that they are taking the minimum number of online courses needed to make normal progress in their degree programs.
Two days later — on July 8, 2020 — Harvard and MIT filed a complaint in federal district court seeking an injunction to stop ICE from implementing the July 6 directive. In 2018, 23.8 percent of the students at Harvard and 29.8 percent of the students at MIT were from other countries.

Although I expect Harvard and MIT to prevail with their suit, I don’t think they are going to like the result.

Some background

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security established SEVIS to collect, maintain, and manage information about foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. One of the terrorists entered the United States on an F-1 nonimmigrant student visa. SEVIS is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is in ICE’s National Security Investigations Division.

Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigrat...ision-but-they

Published initially on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1 or at https://nolanrappaport.blogspot.com.