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US schools, states challenge foreign student rule, sue ICE

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Not less than 17 US states and over 200 universities have challenged the Trump administration's new restrictions on international students. 

The schools which sued US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in federal court in Boston lamented that the policy would jeopardise students' safety and negatively affect semester plans. 

The suit is aimed at challenging Trump's directive that is forcing international students out of the US if they take all their classes online this coming school year.

On Monday July 13, 2020, 17 states and the District of Columbia filed their own lawsuits.

They stated the rule was politically motivated and an attempt by the Trump administration to force universities to hold in-person classes when they resume for the fall semester.

While announcing the suit, Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, noted that Trump administration failed to give plausible reasons his "senseless rule". 

He added that the rule is forcing schools to "choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses." 

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Tuesday in the case brought by Harvard and MIT. 

If the judge does not suspend the rule, colleges across the US will have until Wednesday to notify ICE if they plan to be fully online when classes start in August or September.

Reacting to the suit, the Department of Homeland Security and ICE said the new policy is backed by existing law forbidding foreign students from taking all of their classes online.

The group includes all of Harvard's companions in the Ivy League and other prestigious schools including Stanford and Duke universities. 

They collectively enrol more than 213,000 international students.

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