California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Thursday that the state of California is filing a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s new rule that international students must leave the US if all of their classes are online.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) announced Monday that international students would not be allowed to remain in the US if they took only online classes in the fall.
In a press release, Becerra stated that the new rule “threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and exile hundreds of thousands of college students” who are currently studying in the US under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). International students would be required to attend in-person classes or face deportation. Becerra also said that the rule would further burden the educational system, which is already “struggling” to withstand the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.
Becerra alleged that the new rule is arbitrary and capricious and that it violates the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The complaint also requests that international students not be required to attend in-person classes during COVID-19 or face penalties for completing the fall semester online.
In the statement California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley also said:
With this lawsuit, California is standing up for the 21,000 international students who attend our community colleges and standing up for our right to continue teaching and learning in a safe and responsible way during the pandemic. We will not sacrifice the benefit of the diversity of experiences and perspectives that international students bring to our colleges, nor will we sacrifice the safety of any student, faculty, or staff member at our 115 colleges.