The Trump administration has dropped an immigration policy that threatened to deport hundreds of thousand of international students.
According to CNN, it was announced Tuesday that the White House was rescinding an Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule that would've stripped visas from foreign students who were taking classes exclusively online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The policy cancelation came after widespread backlash against the Trump administration, and about a week after Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit seeking an emergency temporary restraining order against the directive. Dozens of other institutions across the country supported the complaint.
U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs announced the White House's decision during Tuesday's court hearing in the federal lawsuit: "I have been informed by the parties that they have come to a resolution," Burroughs said, as reported by The Hill. "They will return to the status quo."
The now-scrapped policy would've prohibited international students from taking all their courses online this fall while remaining in the U.S. Many foreign students would've been denied new visas and faced deportation if they didn't leave the country voluntarily or transfer to a school where they could take in-person classes.
"If a school isn't going to open or if they're going to be 100 percent online, then we wouldn't expect people to be here for that," acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told CNN last week.
An insider claimed the White House ultmiately dropped the proposal because some officials believed it was "poorly conceived and executed."
Rice University President David Leebron told CNN he was "delighted" by Tuesday's announcement.
"We thought the original rules that were suggested were cruel and misguided and didn't serve our universities, didn't serve our students and frankly didn't serve our country," he added.
The White House has yet to comment on the rescinded policy. A source told the outlet the White House is "now focused on having the rule apply only to new students, rather than students already in the U.S."