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Tech companies join lawsuit against Trump’s new student visa rule

They include Facebook, Google and Microsoft among others.
Nicole Lee, @nicole
July 13, 2020
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Woman student on college campus learning wearing face mask while working on her laptop
kzenon via Getty Images

Facebook, Google, Microsoft along with several other tech companies have joined the US Chamber of Commerce in adding on to a lawsuit against the Trump administration, pushing back on a new rule that would force foreign students to leave the country if their colleges implemented online-only classes this fall.

A lot of US colleges are moving to online-only classes due to the pandemic, but the latest ruling from ICE states that the only way for foreign students to stay is to take in-person classes. Otherwise, they risk having their student visas revoked.

The lawsuit was first filed last week by Harvard and M.I.T. against the Department of Homeland Security. Harvard has stated it would have online-only classes over the next year, while M.I.T will employ a hybrid model, with most of its classes held online. Separately, attorneys-general from 17 states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit of their own to block the rule.

Both tech companies and universities rely a lot on international talent. Colleges often depend on international student tuition for income and tech companies frequently seek to widen their talent pool with skilled workers from around the world. “These students contribute substantially to the U.S. economy when they are resident in the United States,” said the parties in the brief. 

Other tech companies that have joined the suit include Spotify, Salesforce, Adobe, Dropbox, Github, Linkedin, Paypal and Twitter.

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