The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will rescind a policy that would force international students taking online classes only this fall to return to their home countries.
Connecticut signed onto a lawsuit with 17 other states Monday that sought to reverse the policy, just days before the Trump administration was set to begin round ups of international students.
This lawsuit ran parallel to another filed by Harvard and MIT representing private universities which ultimately won the victory over ICE and DHS Tuesday. A federal judge in Massachusetts announced that the government and plaintiffs reached a decision.
Now that the policy has been reversed just a week after it was announced, ICE will revert back to the old guidelines surrounding international students, which would allow them to stay in the country regardless of whether their coursework will be online or in-person.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong opposed the policy since it was first announced and agreed that rescinding it was the appropriate decision.
“This cruel and misguided rule should never have been drafted in the first place,” Tong said. “Rescinding it was the only appropriate course of action. The Trump Administration owes an apology to the hundreds of thousands of international students who contribute tremendously to the academic, cultural, and economic vibrancy of our educational institutions. It was cruel and unnecessary, causing chaos and panic in schools across the nation. Colleges and universities need to make decisions about re-opening based on health and safety, not punitive immigration policies.”
Several international students spoke at a news conference with Tong on Monday before he and other state attorneys general headed into court to challenge the policy. Now, international students feel relieved that they can stay in the U.S. and stay safe.
“I’m extremely happy,” said Kim Kerremans, an international student in an online graduate program at Quinnipiac University. “I have a couple friends that are international students at other universities and it feels good to know that they won’t need to leave.”
She said that the support from friends and the community has been surprising and uplifting throughout the period of uncertainty.
“Honestly, I’m a little taken aback by all the support I saw and received on social media and the lawsuits from the universities to change the policy was very inspiring because it makes me, along with my fellow international students, feel like we are a part of the college community instead of outsiders,” Kerremans said. “I definitely feel like I have a weight off my shoulders and I can relax a little bit.”