Lawrence University, in partnership with the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, has joined 179 other colleges and universities in an amicus brief filed July 10 in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The plaintiffs seek an injunction against new guidance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that effectively implements a ban on international students enrolled exclusively in online courses as a result of COVID-19. The amicus brief argues that higher education institutions and international students will experience significant burdens due to the guidance’s arbitrary prohibition, without notice, to online-only courses for international students, particularly after investing substantial resources in planning for fall. Institutions, the brief argues, relied heavily on the existing SEVP guidance that flexibility would continue “for the duration of the emergency.”

“Ensuring all students can choose the right learning option for themselves during the pandemic has been an overarching principle for the University,” Lawrence President Mark Burstein said.  “The federal government’s decision this spring to provide flexibility for international students’ learning choices was a humane and appropriate decision. The revocation of that flexibility now makes little sense for colleges across the country and for the students we serve.”

The friend-of-the-court brief and list of signatories may be accessed here.