F1 Students Ban Lawsuit by Harvard & MIT (Court Decision?)

Harvard & MIT won lawsuit against ICE order of holding classes in-person for fall 2020. No new I-20 required, student can stay in US without violation.

Written by Anil Gupta
  Anil Gupta    Updated 14 Jul, 20

Update July 14, 2020: Good News! Trump government has agreed to take the F-1 notification back that asked students to leave the US if their classes were happening online for the Fall 2020 semester.

You can now stay in the USA:

  • Online classes allowed.
  • No status violation.
  • ICE will not deport.
  • New F1, M1 student visa can be applied and issued if the US embassy is open.
  • No new I-20 required.

As per the CNN and WSJ reports, the Trump government is now thinking about banning only new F1 and M1 student’s entry in the USA for the fall 2020 semester.

Interestingly, the court judge has kept the case open in-case ICE comes out with a new policy. The same judge will hear the case again.

But after today’s court case win, new F1, M1 visa can be applied and issued if the US embassy is open until any new executive order is signed or a new policy is announced.

Attorney Greg Siskind reported first on Twitter that no new I-20s needed. F1 and M1 students can stay in the US.

Earlier on July 13, the Hill reported that tech companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and PayPal have joined the student visa ban litigation.

Interestingly, none of these companies have step forward for the H1B travel ban.

As reported by Law360:

  • Trump Government wants to go slow and asked for time to get response from other government agencies. They want to let the July 15 deadline pass.
  • But, Judge Burroughs made it clear that something needs to be done by July 15.
  • Judge gave the government two choices: Either agree to a brief stay of the policy to allow time for a comprehensive response, or proceed directly to a preliminary injunction hearing early next week.

Earlier, Harvard and MIT came together to challenge the ICE’s order of forcing universities to hold in-person classes.

The guidance issued by DHS for students currently in the USA was to leave and return to their home country if their school was holding all online classes during the fall 2020 semester.

This was of course different than the guidance DHS shared at the start of Coronavirus national emergency declaration in March 2020.

The litigation challenges the Trump government’s order based on the fact that ICE and DHS did explicitly allowed to hold online classes until the emergency was active.

Lawsuit Points

The litigation claims:

  • Contagious Disease: COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that spreads from humans to humans in close contact situations.
  • In-person classes will endanger community life: Densely populated classrooms that are attendant with on-campus instruction have the potential to turn into “super-spreader” situations that endanger the health of not only the university community but also those in the surrounding areas and anyone else with whom community members may come into contact.
  • No time allowed to make changes: ICE requires schools whose classes would be entirely online to submit an “operational change plan” no later than Wednesday, July 15, 2020—nine days after the change was announced.
  • ICE did not care for Student & faculty Health: ICE has forced the order on universities without showing credible proof that they have thought about the health of students and faculty.
  • Forced Reopening: Federal government’s order seems to be a forced order and the goal is to create as much chaos for universities and international students as possible.
  • ICE’s action is against APA: Universities have been planning the 2020-2021 academic year for months based on ICE’s march guidance allowing international students to remain in the country even if their studies had been moved entirely online.


What are the chances of winning the F1 travel Ban lawsuit?

The chances of winning F1 travel ban lawsuit are very good.

Infact, we believe that court will put a stay on the order and current students will be allowed to stay in the USA.

Will the stay order from Court safeguard all universities?

Yes, the court order will be applicable for all universities affected by the ICE’s order.

Any stay on the ICE’s order by court will help all students on F1 or M1 visa to stay back in the USA.

Can i join the Lawsuit as a student?

There is no need to join the lawsuit as a student.

Any decision given by court will be applicable for all students as it has been filed a litigation that affects all international students.

Should I wait for the court order before leaving the USA?

We suggest to wait for about 30 days to see what happens in this case before you decide to leave the USA as per ICE’s order.

Harvard Lawsuit Text

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Written by Anil Gupta
  Anil Gupta  
Mentor | Immigration and Finance Journalism | Humor | Opinions are my own