White House Backtracks on Controversial Plan To Kick Foreign Students Out of U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security announced in court that it would pull the contentious directive.


The White House has rescinded an order that would have revoked visas from foreign students attending college in the U.S. if those institutions opted to go online-only amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The initial directive, issued July 6, was met with a July 8 lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which 200 other institutions also publicly backed. Several state attorneys general filed their own lawsuits against the Trump administration over the policy.

During a hearing today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts over the Harvard/MIT lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it would drop the controversial guidance, which had already prompted widespread confusion as colleges sought to map out a suitable plan for dealing with foreign students while also addressing coronavirus concerns.

The majority of international students that attend college in the U.S. do so on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas, which require them to maintain a full-time course load. Those visas are overseen by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The White House directive came absent any economic or security justification for giving foreign students the boot, though some have speculated it was part of an effort to pressure colleges to reopen. President Donald Trump, as well as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, have strongly advocated for school openings across the U.S. Others wondered if the directive was more of a strategic political maneuver, designed to appease a restrictionist base and bolster Trump's reelection chances.

Either way, the administration's plan would have created needless logistical challenges for numerous foreign students who simply hope to continue their studies in the U.S. If any of those students had violated the directive, they would have faced deportation and the possibility of being banned from reentering the country.

NEXT: How Non-Existent Cancel Culture Works at Princeton and Elsewhere

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  1. Phew thank god. Now our universities can continue to collect international student tuition and make some bank, while rejecting applications of US citizens who pay too little.

    1. Dont forget the hiring of foreign graduates with nice tax incentives to do so.

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    2. A sarcastic tone like yours might make one think you’re not really concerned about the academic life of Chinese billionaire scions.

    3. Tuition only pays for a fraction of total university budgets, with the difference picked up directly or indirectly by taxpayers. So, foreign students are a net minus to US tax payers.

      The usual mechanism is that faculty get a US government grant for some research, and since they can’t fill their research assistant jobs with Americans, they bring in foreign students. Foreign student enrollment also helps justify larger departments and more administrators.

      And it’s not like they reject US citizens in favor of foreigners, it’s that US citizens, and in particular US men, just don’t want to be part of the university system anymore because they recognize what b.s. it has become.

  2. Yes, whenever President Trump reconsiders his decisions and changes them when appropriate, that it isn’t a good idea. It’s “backtracking”.

    If Presidents Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, Bush Sr., and Reagan had done more “backtracking”, they would have been better presidents.

    President Obama was never wrong about anything, and the country suffered for his horrible decisions. Bush Jr. answered questions about whether what we were doing was smart with answers about whether what he was doing was legal. President Clinton answered questions about whether what he was doing was ethical with answers about whether what he was doing was legal. If President Trump answers questions about whether what he was doing is smart with answers deciding not to do that after all, then he’s the best president on that count we’ve had in a long, long time.

    Congratulations to President Trump for making the right decision.

    1. The sheer amount of backtracking Trump does is a consequence of all the impulsive decisions he makes without availing himself of the experts available to consult with him.

      1. Are those the exerts that said “masks not needed”, or the ones that said “masks mandatory”?
        Are those the experts that said “contact transmission”, or the ones that said “no contact transmission”?
        Are those the experts that said “Social distancing OR masks”, or the ones that said “social distancing AND masks”?
        Are those the experts that said “Hillary in a landslide”, or – – – – – –

    1. They ought to just move her office to a suite at Bethesda at this point.

      I give her a lot of credit for surviving this long. Determined lady.

      1. I give her a lot of credit for surviving this long. Determined lady.

        She should have retired years ago. Clinging to power is selfish and self-righteous.

    2. Imagine the shitstorm if she croaks soon with the election just 4 months away!!


    My daughter is a foreign student, kicked out of the country where she goes to school – Grenada. Why would student visa holders need to be in country when there are no classes? Do you dipshits not even consider that simple undeniable fact?

    1. Don’t harsh the narrative, man.

    2. Why would student visa holders need to be in country when there are no classes?

      If they aren’t in the country when live classes resume, the visa gets revoked. The schools have no idea how long classes will be online. That can’t be planned. It is more a consequence of local pandemic. If schools start live and then go online for a time and then can go live again, under those rules it would require that the students come here (with a two-week quarantine) and then return home (with a two-week quarantine) and then come back again (with a two-week quarantine). Or maybe schools can do some stuff in class and other stuff online. In which case those students would have to monitor that breakout on a weekly basis to see if it violates the visa rules and then back and forth. That rule was nothing but dicking with foreigners because it plays to the R base. Jump up. Sit down. Jump up. Sit down. Fetch.

      1. Yes, it can and is planned. GTFO and STFU. I have 2 kids in college and 1 in Vet school. I know what I am talking about

        1. Here is MIT’s Fall 2020 Plan – published July 7

          Specifically – Most undergraduate instruction will take place online this fall, with on-campus students receiving supplementary in-person teaching in small groups, when possible, such as for lab work, design studios, project-based classes, and performance-based courses. The semester will have an altered schedule, starting one week earlier than usual. Classes will begin on Sept. 1, and undergraduates will depart campus before Thanksgiving to minimize back-and-forth travel during the busy holiday period.

          That may be sufficient information for an American student. It is NOT sufficient for a visa. The visa requirements require information on exactly which courses are online v in-person (because students take specific classes), exactly how many hours in-person v online – EVERY WEEK. And with the two-week quarantine before Sep1 and more difficult intl logistics always anyway, they would need to know all those specifics in the next week or so.

          But don’t worry you stupid R. Foreign students hate online classes far more than American students do. Many of the ones with more than a year or two left are going to spend this next academic year applying to good colleges in countries that are better at dealing with covid than the US is. They don’t need to see how a country deals with problems incompetently. They already KNOW that. By fall of 2021, the number on those visas will drop a lot and you won’t have to worry about all dem foreigners in the US.

      2. “If they aren’t in the country when live classes resume, the visa gets revoked”

        Maybe you should visit a few government web sites.

  4. Well, I’ll just leave this here, since this thread doesn’t appear to be going anywhere:

    Parents in Orange County (my county) are petitioning their schools to guarantee an In Person school year, as well as a Distance Learning program and *gasp* the freedom of teachers and parents to choose between them. The unions have been demanding mandatory masks and staggered school weeks and of course more money, while also demanding that charter schools not get any funding.

    If you are in Orange County…or you know, even if you aren’t…feel free to sign.

    1. Aren’t they also demanding to defund the police?

      1. Northern San Diego County through southern Orange County continues to be dominated by Republican voters, who are not demanding to defund the police. That isn’t likely to fly as a slogan in that part of California coming from the teachers or anyone else. That’s what’s left of Nixon/Reagan/Wally George country. These are like the people who protested against Newsom shutting down the beaches.

        30% of California voters voted for President Trump in 2016, and Trump voters were probably overrepresented in Orange County.

        Also, the American Federation of Teachers is part of the AFL-CIO, and the AFL-CIO is also affiliated with various law enforcement unions. They probably wouldn’t call for defunding dues paying law enforcement members of the AFL-CIO any more than the law enforcement unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO would call for defunding dues paying members of the American Federation of Teachers. They stick together.

  5. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is in the hospital.

    Let’s all pray for RBG.

    1. Even though she’s been a force for evil and needs to be removed from the Supremes, I pray that God heals her completely and restores her health.

    2. I pray that she survives and then resigns.

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  7. Whew our universities and foreign students (who won’t add to the number of the current SJW mob, I’m sure) dodged a bullet there. The America shouldn’t bomb other nations but we have to taken in unlimited number of outsiders and solve all their problems for them.

    Meanwhile, the nation is on the brink of unprecedented disaster as the economic nerve centers shut down once more. We’ll be shut down during Christmas season at this point, and at that point it’s really point of no return.

    And guys, we can’t ever reopen unless new cases reach near zero and robust contact tracing can be implemented. We need to just STFU and download tracking apps on our phones so Gavin Newsome can put you in quarantine for 2 weeks if you were ever in contact with an infected person.

    1. I can tell you that in my PhD program, with many Chinese nationals, the vast majority of them think the SJWs are a bunch of morons, and none I know support them. Many have drawn parallels between cancel culture and the Cultural Revolution.

  8. This evening’s dose of hilarity is brought to you by Jeff Sessions, who just got his ass beat by Tommy Tuberville in the Republican Primary in Alabama for the U.S. Senate. 63-37 so far.

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