July 17, 2020

Policy Summary

The July 6 Directive from the Trump Administration covered in Brief 98 faced immediate backlash and swift legal action by institutions of higher learning, municipalities, and tech companies. Within two days, Harvard and MIT sued the government in Federal Court to have the Directive reversed and declared unlawful, touting it “arbitrary and capricious.” Many colleges and universities expressed their support for the legal challenge and hoped for a similar outcome. Several schools had begun to adapt their fall semester plans with the original Directive in mind in a fashion that would retain their international students, such as hybrid instruction as well as offering one-on-one sessions for international students. Last week, the Administration agreed to rescind their original directive and implementation and changed the ICE rule.


As expressed in Brief 98, international students not only enrich the American higher learning system, but also play a large financial role in funding the institutions. As a result of the original Directive, professors and educators across a wide array of institutions began planning their learning around the Directive in a way that would ensure their international students would still be able to receive instruction in the US. These institutions had not only a financial prerogative to enlist hybrid learning styles, but a moral one as well. The reversal of the Directive further proves the important role education plays in the American Dream as well as the power of academic institutions to keep that dream alive.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • World Health Organization: the WHO provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and global responses
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
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