News Release

University of Minnesota joins others challenging U.S. visa restrictions on international students

U of M sign

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel announced today that the University will join an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit that challenges recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) restrictions on visas for international students. Minnesota is one of a growing number of universities nationwide, including many of its Big Ten peers, that are filing amicus briefs in support of the Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology lawsuit against the federal government.

Minnesota and other universities are seeking relief from a July 6, 2020 ICE directive, which would require nonimmigrant students who take a fully online course load this fall to immediately leave the United States. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, asks the court to “prevent ICE and [the Department of Homeland Security] from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.” 

Our planned hybrid teaching model this fall supports both in-person and online courses, which should reduce the impact of ICE’s decision on our nearly 6,200 international students systemwide,” Gabel said. “However, we cannot stand by in good conscience as international students are forced out of the country through no fault of their own. Educational institutions across the country are offering expanded online learning opportunities to comply with the public health advice given by another federal agency—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—to reduce large gatherings, promote physical distancing and take other precautions to minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19. 

“We stand with our international students, and international students across the country, in asking that the ICE directive be overturned immediately,” Gabel said.

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