Trump administration backs down on restrictions for international students

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WASHINGTON — Facing blowback and lawsuits, the Trump administration is rescinding its directive blocking international students from staying in the United States while taking online-only classes.

U.S. District Court Judge Allison Dale Burroughs in Massachusetts announced Tuesday that the government and plaintiffs had reached a resolution in a lawsuit brought by Harvard University and MIT.

The government was to rescind its July 6 rule that said foreign students on F-1 and M-1 visas would need to take at least some courses in person in order to legally remain in the U.S. in the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had sued the administration over the move.

The reversal comes in the face of heavy criticism from higher-education institutions and lawmakers from both major parties, who argued that the new rules would be disruptive to students and undermine their opportunities and value of the education.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is a national political reporter for NBC News.

Image: Julia AinsleyJulia Ainsley

Julia Ainsley is a correspondent covering the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

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