US rescinds order denying visas for foreign students

A view of a gate to Harvard Yard on the campus of Harvard University on July 08, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AFP Photo)

The administration of Trump on Tuesday rescinded a new rule requiring international students whose university classes are being held entirely online to leave the . The decision was announced during a court hearing between two universities that filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration attempting to stop the decision, which could upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of foreign students.

The United States government rescinded its controversial decision to revoke foreign student visas whose courses move online due to coronavirus, a federal judge said Tuesday.

The universities of Harvard and MIT, with the support of a number of other institutions, had taken legal action against the move that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on July 6.

"The government has agreed to rescind" the decision as well as any implementation of the directive, Judge Allison Burroughs said in a brief hearing.

Harvard and MIT earlier this month had asked the court to block the order announced by ICE that students must leave the country if their classes are only online, or transfer to a school offering in-person tuition.

The measure was seen as a move by President Donald Trump administration to put pressure on educational institutions that are adopting a cautious approach to reopening amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The universities say in their lawsuit that the order would harm students "immensely," both personally and financially.

There were more than one million international students in the US for the 2018-19 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).

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