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Seton Hall signs on to amicus brief in Harvard suit opposing deportation of international students

Seton Hall announced on Friday that it signed on to an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit by Harvard opposing new Department of Homeland Security guidelines that would require international students to leave the country if their institutions plan for an all-online fall semester.

Seton Hall University and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), of which the University is a member, have both released statements regarding new rules from the DHS which could force international students at many institutions to return to their countries of origin or face deportation.

The ACCU plans to sign on to an amicus curiae brief supporting a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Harvard and MIT against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a wing of the DHS, opposing the new restriction, which states that international students cannot remain in the United States if their school chooses to have an all-online fall semester.

The ACCU plans to sign onto an amicus curiae brief supporting a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Harvard and MIT against ICE opposing the new restriction. (Joseph Williams/Wikimedia Commons)

“Sending [international students] home, without a degree, would force them to start their lives over simply because a university is trying to keep its faculty and students safe as contagion levels continue to be unpredictable,” Vice President of External Affairs at ACCU Paula Moore said in a Wednesday press release. “There are difficult decisions to make in challenging times, but this is not one of those. Allowing all students, regardless of country of origin, to be given equal access to online learning is the fair, sensible, and moral thing to do.”

The ACCU has joined many colleges across the country in signing an amicus brief — a legal document signed by an individual or organization not involved in a case, but with a strong interest in it.

The new guidance from ICE released on July 7 argues that international students at fully online universities on an M-1 or F-1 visa do not have a fully online course load and therefore do not meet the requirements for their visas. 

The new guideline will not affect international students at Seton Hall due to the University’s plans for a “hybrid flexible” or “HyFlex” system of in-person and online courses, the University has said.

“The University plans to re-open next month with a HyFlex approach that offers in-person and remote instruction while ensuring the greatest possible health and safety [for] our community,” said University Spokesperson Laurie Pine. “This approach, by law, permits international students to reside in the United States.”

Historically, ICE has prohibited international students on M-1 and F-1 visas from taking more than one online course, but that rule was waived in March as many schools scrambled to move online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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