Attorney General Josh Kaul today announced a coalition of 18 attorneys general filed a lawsuit to stop a new federal rule that threatens to bar hundreds of thousands of international students from studying in the United States.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), challenges what the attorneys general call the federal government’s “cruel, abrupt, and unlawful action to expel international students amidst the pandemic that has wrought death and disruption across the United States.” Today’s lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the entire rule from going into effect.
Today’s lawsuit also includes 39 declarations from a variety of institutions affected by the new rule, including information from University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and University of Wisconsin – Stout.
Currently in our UW System:
- At UW-Stevens Point, 84 international students from 20 countries pay more than $2.2 million in tuition.
- At UW- Stout, 97 international students contribute nearly $2.7 million in tuition.
- UW-Milwaukee could lose up to half of the approximately 1,200 international students, who pay approximately $21.5 million in tuition, and $5.1 million in housing, in addition to the money these students spend at businesses supporting the local economy.
- In 2019, international students at UW-Madison paid approximately $161.8 million in tuition and fees, and $18.8 million in housing.
- 1,057 course sections, or 26.5% of courses, are taught by international teaching assistants.
- UW-Green Bay has 80 enrolled students with F-1 visas who contribute approximately $1.4 million in tuition and fees every year. Green Bay could lose up to $831,100 if its 32 newly admitted students who require F-1 visas are not admitted to the county. The rule may also severely disrupt Green Bay’s Division 1 athletics, particularly in Men’s soccer.
Today’s lawsuit challenges an abrupt policy change by ICE to reverse guidance issued on March 13 that recognized the COVID-19 public health emergency, provided flexibility for schools, and allowed international students with F-1 and M-1 visas to take classes online for the duration of the emergency.
On July 6, ICE announced that international students can no longer live in the United States and take all of their classes online during the pandemic, upending months of careful planning by colleges and universities to limit in-person instruction in favor of remote learning and adapt their coursework for the fall semester, and leaving thousands of students with no other choice but to leave the country.