California has become the first state to sue the Trump administration over its dangerous attack on international students, calling the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy change ordering students to either attend classes in-person amid a pandemic or leave the U.S. “absurd” and a violation of law.
“Shame on the Trump administration for risking not only the education opportunities for students who earned the chance to go to college, but now their health and well-being as well,” state attorney general Xavier Becerra said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “Today, President Trump appears set to do just that—amidst a global pandemic of historic proportions. Not on our watch.”
Similar to the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) just hours ago, California’s lawsuit said the Trump administration failed to follow proper rules, violating the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in announcing the cruel policy.
“ICE did not undergo the required procedures of notice and comment rulemaking prior to implementing this change,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, Defendants waited until just a few weeks before the start of the fall semester to announce the rescission of these exemptions, with impending deadlines on higher education institutions occurring as soon as July 15.”
“This sudden change and ICE's inexplicable delay have created unnecessary chaos both among higher education institutions and their students,” the lawsuit continued, “whose plans for the start of the fall school year have been thrown into upheaval.” Anchita Dasgupta, a Brown University student, told The Washington Post: “My family is concerned I might get the virus. But that can’t even be a concern right now. I have to enroll in classes or I lose my visa status.”
Some schools have instructed international students to quickly enroll in any in-person class—“Faculty across the University of California have offered to hold one unit, in-person seminars, in line with social distancing regulations, to technically adhere to ICE’s exemptions,” Daily Bruin reported about other efforts—but students told The Post they’re worried there may not be enough space. None of this has to be happening, but as advocates have noted, the Trump administration has only been escalating the cruelty in what could be its final months in power.
“It is another front in the administration’s relentless effort to kick out and keep out all foreigners,” America’s Voice said this week. “’As The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer noted today, ‘even some WH stalwarts concede that Trump is in a kind of free fall. And what we’re seeing is Miller and his cabal trying to force through as much as they can before the music stops.’” An increasing number of schools have since joined Harvard and MIT in opposing this latest attack:
“No one graduates more students from college or assembles a more talented and diverse group of future leaders than California,” Becerra continued in his statement. “Today’s lawsuit rests on America’s enduring principle that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can earn a chance to get ahead. We'll see the Trump administration in court."