Update: ICE Rescinds Online Education Policy in Win for Colleges & Int’l Students

Update: ICE Rescinds Online Education Policy in Win for Colleges & Int’l Students

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will rescind its recent policy requiring international students to depart the U.S. if all of their classes are taught online.

The rescission resolves a lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT to allow their international students – in the U.S. on F-1 and M-1 Visas – to remain in the U.S. even if the students must take an online course load due to COVID-19. This lawsuit was publicly backed by multiple colleges and businesses, as well as 19 states’ attorneys general.

The result of the rescission is that ICE will return to enforcing the guidance it issued in March of this year. Under that policy, F-1 and M-1 students may count online classes toward a full course of study, and they may remain in active student status on the basis of online classes. While in theory this appears to be a settled issue, individual adjudicating officers may take erroneous positions based on the agencies internal fluctuating policies.

If you have any questions about how to properly remain in active status based on your school’s plan for the fall, please contact Gee & Zhang.