The state of California, which is home to Stanford University, UCLA and the University of California, on Thursday announced plans to sue the Trump administration over its proposed order to deport foreign students enrolled in colleges and universities that offered only online classes for their fall semester.
The University of California, a sprawling public university, has also announced plans to challenge the order, joining Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Shame on the Trump administration for risking not only the education opportunities for students who earned the chance to go to college but now their health and well-being as well,” California attorney general Xavier Becerra said Thursday.
The proposed order “could put everybody at risk of getting the coronavirus or being subject to deportation”.
“Not on our watch,” he added.
California will become the first state to challenge the order which sought to prevent new foreign students from entering the US if their coursework will be completely online for the fall semesters and threatened to deport those already here, unless they shifted to a different university.
At universities with a hybrid model of online and in-person classes, foreign students could opt to increase their online course-loads.
The order issued Monday by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) was a part o the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to push the country to reopen from the Covid-19 lockdowns and move past it.
But it was slammed as “cruel” and “mean-spirited” by universities and students. Harvard, for instance, is offering only online classes in fall and the order impacts its foreign students directly. It sued the ICE and its supervisory agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on Wednesday, along with MIT.
The University of California announced its plans to sue the administration on Thursday. It will seek a “temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief” to bar the administration from enforcing an order the US president, Janet Napolitano, called “mean-spirited, arbitrary and damaging to America”. She is a former DHS secretary.
There are an estimated 200,000 Indians enrolled in US universities and some of them will be impacted by the controversial directive. Indian government has already raised the issue with the US at a very high level.
India is the second largest source of international students in the United States, after China and before South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. The US takes in around 1 million foreign students every year who are estimated to generate $41 billion worth of economic activity and supported 450,000 jobs.