UMN to support lawsuit against ICE restrictions on international students

President Joan Gabel announced Thursday the University will file an amicus curiae brief in the lawsuit.

Illustration by Sarah Mai

Illustration by Sarah Mai

by Brooke Sheehy

The University of Minnesota will support a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would require international students without in-person classes to leave the country.

The University is among other Big Ten colleges and universities nationwide that are filing amicus briefs to support the lawsuit brought by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology against the agency. 

On July 6, ICE directed that international students attending universities that will be fully online come fall, or whose individual class load will be solely online, transfer to schools offering in-person or hybrid classes. Students who do not transfer would face deportation. 

The lawsuit specifically asks the court to “prevent ICE and and [the Department of Homeland Security] from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.”

In a University news release, President Joan Gabel said the hybrid teaching model for the fall semester includes both online and in-person instruction, and that should minimize the significance of ICE’s directive for the nearly 6,200 international students systemwide. 

“We cannot stand by in good conscience as international students are forced out of the country through no fault of their own, “ Gabel said. 

Gabel said educational institutions nationally have expanded their online learning opportunities so that they abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health advice to gather in small groups, encourage social distancing and take other precautions to prevent the rapid spread and burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We stand with our international students, and international students across the country, in asking that the ICE directive be overturned immediately,” Gabel said.

This is a breaking news report. More information may be added as it becomes available.