Trump administration drops restrictions on online-only instruction for foreign students

The Trump administration has rescinded its policy that would bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the US.

The Trump administration has rescinded its policy that would bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the US, a federal judge announced Tuesday in Boston

Posted: Jul 14, 2020 2:46 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 2:50 PM

(CNN) -- The Trump administration has rescinded its policy that would bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the US, a federal judge announced Tuesday in Boston.

The decision comes a little over a week after Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that students at schools offering only online courses due to the coronavirus pandemic would need to either leave the US or transfer schools.

One person familiar with the matter told CNN the White House has felt the blowback to the proposal and that some inside the West Wing believe it was poorly conceived and executed.

According to another source, the White House is now focused on having the rule apply only to new students, rather than students already in the US. The White House declined to comment on an ongoing policy process.

For now, though, the move to drop the policy is a reprieve for more than 1 million international students in the US. In the last week, students had expressed frustration and concern over their next steps, as universities and colleges announced decisions to move all courses online.

Among those universities was Harvard, which brought the lawsuit along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, several colleges and states have similarly filed suit.

Rice University President David Leebron, speaking on CNN as the announcement was made, said he's "delighted" at the decision to reverse course.

"We thought the original rules that were suggested were cruel and misguided and didn't serve our universities, didn't serve our students and frankly didn't serve our country," Leebron said.

Students had already been bracing for the possibility of having to suddenly depart the US or transfer to a university offering a mix of online and in-person courses.

Shreeya Thussu, who's studying molecular biology, told CNN last week that the sudden policy change had thrown her life into turmoil during an already stressful time; this summer she's been working on applying to medical school.

Thussu, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley and president of the school's International Students Association, called the news Tuesday a "relief."

Thussu said she didn't believe her eyes when she saw the news flash across Facebook Tuesday afternoon. Immediately, she started texting friends, trying to verify what had happened.

"I just hoped that it was real," she said. "The last couple of days have just been so stressful. The university's been sending out emails, but giving no information, and it sounded really dire, and kind of told us to enroll in in-person classes if possible. A lot of us were super anxious, so this is really good."

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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 July 6 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 options, 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 last week.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 578946

Reported Deaths: 10523
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2108744999
Riverside41983820
Orange40527724
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24995183
Fresno17846171
San Joaquin13870235
Alameda13631205
Santa Clara12962207
Sacramento12274179
Tulare11549198
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9867244
Contra Costa9787146
Ventura874093
San Francisco769267
Santa Barbara699672
San Mateo6431122
Merced573670
Monterey549437
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma375350
Madera246339
Placer237724
San Luis Obispo227817
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12876
Butte12388
Napa112911
Sutter9967
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6664
Mendocino47210
Shasta46910
Glenn4363
Colusa3965
Nevada3571
Tehama3031
Humboldt2864
Lake2402
Amador1853
Mono1581
Tuolumne1552
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 99° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 67°
Paradise
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Chester
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 61°
Red Bluff
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Willows
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Warm temperatures and a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger are ahead for our region today. The heat ramps up this weekend and that will prompt an Excessive Heat Watch for the valley and foothills.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events