Reversal: Trump Administration Drops Proposed Restrictions on Online-Only Classes for Student Visa Holders

On July 6th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made a surprise announcement that new restrictions were being added to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Without warning, the agency declared that F-1 students and M-1 students would not be allowed to remain in the United States if their school was going to online-only instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

As so many colleges and universities are taking precautions to adjust to the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement was stunning. If implemented as proposed by the administration, the policy would have caused enormous hardship for many international students. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Trump Administration has reversed its policy guidance. Here, our Los Angeles immigration attorney explains what students need to know. 

California, Other States, and Several Prominent Colleges Sued the Administration

Almost immediately after ICE made its surprise announcement on student visa restrictions, multiple lawsuits were filed against the Trump Administration. California was the first state to sue ICE over the rule. At least 17 other states supported the legal action. Additionally, many colleges and universities spoke out against the proposal. Most notably, Harvard and MIT filed a joint lawsuit to stop the implementation of the policy. Major companies, including Google and Apple, filed a brief in support of student visa holders. 

Student Visa Policy Reverts to March Rule—Students Can Attend Online Courts

Facing sharp pressure from state leaders, educational leaders, student groups, and major corporations, the Trump Administration is now dropping the rule. In reversing its proposed restrictions, our country’s student visa policy will now revert to a temporary policy put into place back in March in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. F-1 visa holders and M-1 visa holders can attend all of their classes online without running afoul of immigration law. This is very important as COVID-19 is still not under control. 

International Students Help to Build America’s Future

As highlighted by our country’s top educational institutions and largest corporations, our global competitiveness has long depended on the contributions of international students. As an example, the United States healthcare system relies very heavily on immigrants. Reuters reports that nearly 30 percent of American doctors are foreign born. Beyond that, nearly 8 percent of American doctors are non-citizens. In other important fields, the percentage of immigrants and international students is even higher. More than 75 percent of computer science majors in the United States are on student visas.  

Speak to a Student Visa Lawyer in Los Angeles, California

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our California visa attorneys are skilled, experienced advocates for immigrants and their family members. With the ability to handle the full range of immigration matters, our legal team will protect your rights. If you have questions or concerns about obtaining a visa, we are available to help. Call our Los Angeles law office now for a strictly confidential initial consultation. Our immigration attorneys serve communities all over Southern California.