ASU joins lawsuit over order that requires international students not attending in-person classes to head home

Arizona State University President Michael Crow says ASU has joined 20 other schools in filing a lawsuit over a recent order issued by federal officials over international students.

On July 6, officials with the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the fall 2020 semester will not be allowed to remain within the United States.

According to an ICE news release, If returning to their home country is not possible for students affected by the new order, they will have to take alternative steps to maintain their nonimmigrant status, such as finding a school that will cater to in-person classes, a reduced course load, or appropriate medical leave.

Previously, a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters was instituted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawsuit includes schools in other Western states

In a statement released on July 13, President Crow said ASU is one of 20 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that was filed in a Federal District Court in Oregon. Besides ASU, the state's two other public universities -- Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona -- were also listed as plaintiffs, according to court documents.

Other schools included as plaintiffs in the lawsuit include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • President and Board of Trustees of Santa Clara College
  • Scripps College
  • Seattle University
  • Stanford University
  • Saint Mary's College of California
  • University of Arizona
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of San Diego
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Utah

"There is no actual indicator, no measurement of economic change that says that international students and college graduate immigrants weaken the American economy in any way, or eliminate or reduce opportunity for Americans. None," read a portion of the statement released by ASU. "The present effort to remove these talented, skilled and generous individuals from America’s economic and cultural landscape is a thoughtless and deeply misguided mistake, and ASU will vehemently oppose any effort to do so."

According to ASU officials, there are more than 10,000 degree-seeking international students at ASU.

UArizona officials speak

Officials with UArizona also release a statement on the lawsuit, saying international student's contributions are crucial to the school's learning and research.

"Many of our 3,700 international graduate and undergraduate students stayed in this country during the pandemic to make sure their education was not interrupted by visa issues," read a portion of the statement, attributed to university president Robert C. Robbins. "We see this as a sign of their determination and commitment to earning an education in the United States from a top research university, and this guidance unnecessarily puts our international students at risk."

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