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California will sue Trump administration over decision to not allow foreign college students to take online-only courses

The guidance issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received pushback from universities and lawmakers who argue it puts students in a precarious position and threatens to put them in harm's way in the throes of a pandemic.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 7:59 PM

(CNN) -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Thursday that the state will challenge the Trump administration's decision not to allow foreign students to take online-only courses in the US this fall semester, marking yet another lawsuit against the guidance.

"This Trump administration policy turns our universities into hotspots of the disease. This policy is just unlawful, it's dangerous and it's morally reprehensible," Becerra said in a virtual news conference, alongside representatives from California Community Colleges and California State University.

The guidance issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received pushback from universities and lawmakers who argue it puts students in a precarious position and threatens to put them in harm's way in the throes of a pandemic. Earlier Thursday, nearly 100 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, urging the department to rescind the policy.

"ICE's announcement of their plans to force out or deport international students who remain at U.S. colleges and universities and who are taking a full online course load is cruel and unconscionable," the letter reads. Signatories include Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

Visa requirements for students have always been strict and coming to the US to take online-only courses has been prohibited. ICE maintained that prohibition in its guidance, while providing some flexibility for hybrid models, meaning a mix of online and in-person classes.

The agency suggested that students currently enrolled in the US consider other measures, like transferring to schools with in-person instruction.

"If a school isn't going to open or if they're going to be 100% online, then we wouldn't expect people to be here for that," acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told CNN's Brianna Keilar.

As the fall semester nears, universities have had to chart another path forward, taking into consideration the spread of coronavirus. Some have opted to go online, including Harvard.

On Wednesday, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also filed a lawsuit against the guidance. Filed in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the lawsuit seeks to block the directive, arguing it violates the Administrative Procedures Act. The universities argued that ICE's decision not to provide an exemption for online-only courses puts them in an "untenable situation" of either proceeding with their plans to operate fully or largely online or attempt to provide in-person learning.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley echoed similar concerns Thursday, saying: "This is a time where we need to assure our students, not create more fear and anxiety."

"Many of our international students do not have the resources to get back on a plane and go to their home countries," he added.

The lawsuit will be filed in the Northern District of California.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 48°
Oroville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 48°
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 48°
Red Bluff
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 39°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 48°
As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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