CHICAGO (CBS Chicago/CBS News) — The University of Chicago on Monday took two new actions in opposition to a directive from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that says foreign students taking online-only classes may not remain in the U.S.
The U of C joined with several other institutions in filing an amicus brief opposing the directive issued on Monday, July 6. A hearing is set for Tuesday.
The U of C also submitted a declaration of support for a lawsuit filed Monday by the state attorneys general of Illinois and several other states challenging the directive.
Northwestern University has also submitted its support for that effort.
“As the University pursues these legal challenges, faculty and academic leaders across all divisions, schools, and the College are working to provide in-person courses to support our international students in being able to start or continue their academic programs in the U.S. if they choose,” wrote President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee on Monday in a message to the U of C community.
Under the guidelines issued last week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which oversees the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program, foreigners with F-1 or M-1 visas — which are for academic and vocational international students, respectively — will not be allowed to participate in an entirely online fall semester.
The State Department will not issue those visas to students planning to attend schools that will only offer remote learning and Customs and Border Protection officials will not allow such applicants to enter the country, according to a summary of the temporary rule, which ICE said will be published in the federal government’s journal of regulations “in the near future.”
Students already in the U.S. under those programs who are planning to attend colleges or universities that will only offer online classes in the fall will need to transfer to other schools providing in-person instruction, depart the country or face potential deportation, ICE said. If they leave the U.S., the students will be able to continue the remote instruction in their home countries.
Existing regulations generally bar online-only coursework in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. But in the spring, ICE issued an exemption allowing foreign students to take more online classes, citing the growing coronavirus pandemic.
ICE said last week that international students planning to enroll in schools implementing a so-called “hybrid model” of online and in-person instruction will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours remotely as long as the institutions file certifications with the agency.
CBS News’ Camilo Montoya-Galves contributed to this report.