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Montgomery College has joined the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and over 180-member colleges and universities in filing an amicus brief in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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 in online-only courses.

In a published statement issued last week, Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard said, “It is disappointing that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has failed to see the true value of international students, by prohibiting F1 Visa-holders from remaining enrolled at colleges offering only online learning.” Read the president’s statement in its entirety.

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 their fall 2020 operations. Institutions, the amicus argues, relied heavily on the existing Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance, and that flexibility would continue “for the duration of the emergency.”

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, stated: “ICE’s new policy serves only to severely disrupt international students’ educational attainment, and our country is worse off for it. This quasi–international student ban represents another unfortunate assault by the administration against immigrants and higher education—a ban made especially disappointing given SEVP’s former guidance that promoted and recognized the need for flexibility amidst a global pandemic. The number of institutions speaking out on behalf of international students demonstrates the breadth of support for international students and the appreciation of the immense contributions they bring to all our campuses.”

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