Tech Giants Join Lawsuit Opposing Trump’s Visa Policy

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2019 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on April 26, 2019. Trump announced on Friday that the United States is withdrawing from an international arms trade treaty signed by the Obama administration, marking Washington's latest exit from an international pact. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS) by Ting Shen.
U.S. President Donald Trump

Tech giants including Google, Facebook, Microsoft have joined the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) last week to block Donald Trump administration’s decision to ban foreign students taking only online courses.

In a joint brief, the tech companies including PayPal said the student visa restrictions will “inflict significant harm” their businesses reports The Hill.

Google's office in New York City. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Google’s office in New York City. (File Photo: IANS)

“America’s future competitiveness depends on attracting and retaining talented international students,” the companies said in the brief.

“Individuals who come here as international students are also essential to educating the next generation of inventors,” they added.

Some 180 academic institutions in the US have joined the lawsuit.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg

On July 6, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had unveiled new guidelines for F-1 and M-1 visas given to students restricting them to only students who take in-person courses or a combination of online and in-person courses.

Those who take only online courses would not be eligible for the visa.

As many universities switch to online teaching because of COVID-19 restrictions, not all foreign students can take in-person courses and they could be denied visas or fall out out visa status and have to leave the US.

Bengaluru: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addresses during the Microsoft "Future Decoded" tech summit in Bengaluru on Feb 25, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
Bengaluru: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella a (Photo: IANS)

The 22-page document issued by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration representing 180 higher education institutions showed nationwide support for rescinding the guidance.

“ICE’s new policy serves only to severely disrupt international students’ educational attainment, and our country is worse off for it,” said Miriam Feldblum, executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in a statement posted on the group’s official website.

“This quasi-international student ban represents another unfortunate assault by the administration against immigrants and higher education,” she added.

The University of California (UC) also announced plans to file suit against the ICE.

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