International students will be required to attend at least one in-person course to maintain their F-1 status, a move that pressures campuses to hold in-person classes.
Attorney Dan Berger is quoted in multiple news outlets:
The New York Times: Trump Visa Rules Seen as Way to Pressure Colleges on Reopening
In March, as the coronavirus outbreak forced universities to abruptly close their campuses, the Trump administration offered those students flexibility, allowing them to remain legally in the United States, said Dan Berger, a lawyer who specializes in academic immigration.
“All that flexibility is being pulled back now,” he said. If students attending universities with online classes wish to remain in the country, they will have to transfer to an institution that offers in-person courses, which is virtually impossible given the short notice.
“The policy also forces some students to leave who are here and safe, even if the country they are going to has a Covid-19 outbreak or closed borders,” said Berger. “Schools offer more than just classes. There is support here for students who have nowhere to go, even if the students are taking classes online. And forcing schools that were online to add an in-person class to meet the ‘hybrid’ definition would mean bringing students into contact with each other just for immigration purposes.”
“It creates this general big picture fear of ‘Am I going to be able to start school, and am I going to be able to stay in school, and will I be able to work during school and after?’ ” Berger said of Monday’s announcement.
“The lawsuit argues that the administration’s action was ‘arbitrary and capricious,’” said Dan Berger, a partner at Curran, Berger & Kludt, in an interview. “Under the Administrative Procedure Act, government actions have to consider the consequences. This is the same legal reasoning used in the Supreme Court’s recent DACA decision, that the administration has the right to make these decisions but needs to consider all the consequences first.”