SALT LAKE CITY — Weber State University and Westminster College joined a list of hundreds of institutions of higher learning in a lawsuit against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop what they say is in effect an international student ban.
The suit, started by Harvard and MIT last week, alleges that ICE’s decision was designed to “force universities to reopen in-person classes” and seeks to stop the Trump Administration from pulling visas of foreign students if their schools move classes exclusively online.
In a statement, Weber State says they have about 300 international students. WSU’s Senior International Officer, Dr. Yimin Wang, says the so-called “International Student Ban” creates “tremendous risk” for these students. “International travel may not be safe, their home countries may not have opened back up yet, [there are] technological in terms of taking online courses.” Also, she says that students may have to wake up in the middle of the night to log into their US class times.
Wang says that it’s created problems for universities as well, who are struggling to find ways to accommodate these students after already finalizing course requirements. “[ICE] has created unnecessary extra burden both for the university and students.”
Wang thinks that the lawsuit has a good chance of succeeding, although she notes that she prefers to look at “the sunny side of the street.” She says legally, the new ICE “student ban” policy is in conflict with their one from March of this year. That policy gave international students more flexibility to take online classes due to the danger of COVID 19.
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