Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Illinois State University over opposition to a new federal rule that could make it harder for international students to stay in the U.S.
The lawsuit is part of a multistate legal challenge to the new regulations that would prohibit foreign students from staying if their U.S. colleges operate entirely online this fall. Some universities are considering online-only classes to mitigate coronavirus-related health concerns.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by Raoul and 18 other state attorneys general, seeks an injunction to stop the entire rule from going into effect.
In a letter to campus on Monday, ISU President Larry Dietz said he was "deeply disappointed in and opposes" the Trump administration's proposed regulations.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a host of anxieties and challenges for students and universities across the nation," Dietz wrote. "Many U.S. embassies and consulates are closed at this time, causing a delay in visa application processing and students’ ability to travel to campus. This, in addition to the new policy from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), creates additional significant challenges."
Dietz said ISU is working to ensure "that we can offer our international students courses in the modalities required for them to begin or continue their degree programs so that this rule has the least impact possible."
A town hall is planned for Thursday for international students to voice concerns.
"We will continue to monitor the potential impact of this federal directive and communicate with returning and incoming international students to provide guidance for the upcoming fall semester," Dietz said. "Illinois State remains committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus for all students and scholars."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE) has "demanded that educational institutions advise the federal government by (Wednesday) whether they intend to offer only remote courses in the fall semester," Raoul said.
“ICE’s arbitrary new rule harms both international students and the institutions where these students contribute to creating a diverse and culturally-vibrant academic environment. Announcing this rule in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional confusion and upheaval for students and universities already facing uncertainty caused by the pandemic,” Raoul said. “As the son of immigrants and the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I am committed to fighting the administration’s anti-immigrant policies.”
Joining Raoul in Monday's lawsuit were the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
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