The ICE policy that would expel international students taking online classes is reportedly already close to a rollback

The Trump administration is considering rolling back last week's ruling that would revoke the visas of international students studying at colleges remaining entirely online this fall, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.


The Trump administration issued a directive on July 6, stating that international students attending schools operating entirely online may not remain in the US. Schools, according to the initial directive, are supposed to report their reopening plans by Wednesday.

Now, the White House could be reconsidering that amid swift backlash.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that White House and Department of Homeland Security officials are weighing scaling the directive down, citing people familiar with the matter. A scaled down version of the ruling could result in international students already in the country getting to stay while newly enrolled students would not get to come, according to the Journal.

The initial ruling came as many campuses were announcing their virtual reopening plans, possibly in an effort to persuade colleges to reopen fully for the fall semester.

On July 7, Trump directly singled out Harvard's plan to bring back 40% of undergraduates but to continue remote learning. "I think it's ridiculous, I think it's an easy way out and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, if you want to know the truth," Trump said.

In a news conference last week, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the initial ruling : "You don't get a visa for taking online classes from, let's say, University of Phoenix. So why would you if you were just taking online classes, generally?"

In response, Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit to block the motion linking remote learning to deportation on July 8. Many universities supported them, with the count now up to more than 200 additional universities. On July 13, 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a separate lawsuit to block the same motion.

The multistate lawsuit represents over 370,000 international students at over 1,100 colleges, according to the filing. Those same students contributed roughly $14.5 billion to the economy in 2019, according to the states and DC.

Students say the Trump administration's anti-immigration stance has changed their "idealized vision" of the US , with one telling Insider's Inyoung Choi she is considering transferring to another country. A new study by the National Foundation for American Policy found that enrollment of new international students at US universities is projected to decline this year by 63% to 98% the lowest level since World War II.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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