US revokes rule, after facing legal challenge from top Universities

US visa immigration services
Tochi Juliet

Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America, has rescinded his order which denies international students of visas after the university of Harvard and MIT, with the support of several other institutions, took legal action against the move.

The United States government rescinded its controversial decision to revoke foreign student visas whose courses move online due to coronavirus, a federal judge said Tuesday.

The decision was announced at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull out of the July 6 directive and "return to the status quo."

Harvard and MIT earlier this month had asked the court to block the order announced by ICE that students must leave the country if their classes are only online, or transfer to a school offering in-person tuition.

The measure was seen as a move by President Donald Trump's administration to put pressure on educational institutions that are adopting a cautious approach to reopening amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The universities say in their lawsuit that the order would harm students "immensely," both personally and financially.

It describes the order as "arbitrary and capricious" and says it threw US higher education "into chaos".

"We are thrilled that the government-backed down," said the University of Southern California in a statement.

"Our international students are a vital part of the USC community, and they deserve the right to continue their education without risk of deportation."

The announcement brings relief to thousands of international students who had been at risk of being deported from the country, along with hundreds of universities that were scrambling to reassess their plans for the fall in light of the policy.

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