SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – International students studying in Orange and Los Angeles counties sued the Trump administration on Friday for being "farmers in a political drama" due to recent restrictions on student visas abroad.
The federal civil lawsuit was filed by lawyers for seven international students in Orange County. They are seeking a court order that prevents the government from enforcing the directive that withdraws student visas from international students who only attend online courses in the fall.
The plaintiffs – identified only by their initials – are Chinese nationals studying at the UC Irvine School of Law and UCLA and a German citizen studying at the USC Gould School of Law.
On Monday, the Trump administration announced the policy that international students should not stay in the United States unless they were supposed to take classes in person.
"The government's abrupt decision to ban international students during the pandemic is cruel to the students free of charge and would do immense harm to our universities and our country," said Mark Haddad, professor at the USC Gould School of Law. "Because this astonishing change in policy has caused widespread harm and has been released without explanation, it is illegal and should be blocked by the courts quickly."
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Because of COVID-19, universities across the country have chosen to continue online teaching until the fall.
Until now, international students have been protected by guidelines of the student visitor program, with which visas for non-immigrant students have been complied with, regardless of how their higher education institutions managed to switch from personal tuition.
"The ICE directive, according to which foreign students have to attend classes personally, even if their universities have determined that this costs life and endangers the campus community, treats them as politically motivated decisions for the president, according to public health experts," said the plaintiff's lawyer, Mark Rosenbaum, director of the Public Counsel's Opportunity Under Law project.
"It is the latest in a series of irrational actions that are exacerbating the pandemic crisis in our country, and it is not surprising that the life that is primarily at risk is that of immigrants who study lawfully here to here and in To contribute productively abroad. ”
The plaintiff's lawyer, Stacy Horth-Neubert, said the government had abruptly “taken arbitrary and illogical measures that would give these students the choice of a Hobson to expose themselves and their surroundings to the risk of COVID-19 infection by personally attend courses or be expelled from the country in which they have planned and prepared for the coming academic year. "
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)