Illinois Attorney General joins 18 others in lawsuit against visa rule for foreign students

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO/AP) — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined attorney generals from 18 other states in filing a lawsuit to stop a federal rule that requires foreign students take a required number of in-person classes to keep their visas.

More than 200 universities have also joined the legal challenge to the Trump administration’s new restrictions on international students, arguing that the policy jeopardizes students’ safety and forces schools to reconsider fall plans they have spent months preparing.

The lawsuit challenges a recently announced directive saying international students cannot stay in the U.S. if they take all their classes online this fall.

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) say the new policy is backed by existing law forbidding foreign students from taking all of their classes online. ICE suspended the rule in March in response to the pandemic, but the agency told universities it was subject to change, according to a Monday court filing from the Trump administration.

The lawsuit challenges the policy’s legal grounds and say it forces schools across the nation to “choose between opening their campuses regardless of the public health risks, or forcing their international students to leave the country.”

Under the new rule, international students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall. New visas will not be issued to students at those schools, ICE said, and others at schools offering a mix of online and in-person courses will be barred from taking all of their classes online.

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