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Government Withdraws Appeal in Guilford College, Making District Court Decision Final

The Fourth Circuit granted the government’s motion to voluntarily dismiss the Guilford College case after the government withdrew its appeal, thus making final the permanent injunction of the USCIS policy memo on the accrual of unlawful presence for F, J, and M nonimmigrants.

Top universities have sued the federal government and vowed to protect international students from deportation.

ICE recently announced a policy that would require international students to leave the country if they do not take any in-person classes this fall term. This would apply even if the university is fully online this fall or if the university transitions to an online model in the middle of the semester. On July 7, top universities including Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford have denounced the policy, while also assuring international students that they will work to create a plan that will allow them to continue their studies in America “without fear.” On July 8, Harvard and MIT filed suit in federal court, seeking to block the policy and calling ICE’s decision “arbitrary and capricious.”

International students will be forced to leave the country if university classes go online.

According to guidelines published by ICE on July 6, international students whose universities go fully online this fall will either have to transfer universities to one holding in-person instruction or leave the U.S. For schools that will have a mix of in-person and online classes, international students will be barred from taking only online classes. International students will not be exempt from these guidelines even if the universities transition to online classes during the fall term. The American Council of Education called the guidelines “horrifying” and said this was clearly an incentive for schools to reopen despite possible health consequences.

A federal judge permanently blocked a Trump policy change in how DHS calculates an immigrant’s “unlawful presence.”

Several college presidents sued the Trump administration over a policy change that amended how a foreign national’s “unlawful presence” in the U.S. is calculated to include more time, making it more difficult for many to stay in the U.S. They argued that the change would harm students, scholars, and others who sometimes temporarily lost legal status while switching schools and jobs. On February 6, Judge Biggs ruled that the change “impermissibly conflicted” with immigration law, and issued a permanent injunction against the policy.

The number of foreign students in the U.S. has decreased for the 3rd year in a row.

 A report from the Institute of International Education showed that foreign student enrollment in U.S. universities dropped by 1% compared to 2018, and the two years prior had drops of 7% and 3%. The drop in the number of students from China has been particularly sharp. Some schools pointed out the president’s rhetoric as one reason for the downturn. The Trump administration instead theorized that the drop was due to high tuition costs and not immigration policies.

Specifics on ‘unlawful presence’ for F-1 and J-1 students

Starting August 9, 2018, a new policy goes into effect for F-1 and J-1 holders. They will start accruing unlawful presence the day after they violate their status, get an order from a Judge they are out of status, or get a ruling from Immigration their status is denied.

New USCIS Policy on Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants Takes Effect Next Week

USCIS’s new policy on the calculation of unlawful presence for those in student (F nonimmigrant), exchange visitor (J nonimmigrant), or vocational student (M nonimmigrant) status and their dependents will take effect next Thursday, August 9, 2018.

USCIS Automatic Termination of OPT for F-1 Students If They Transfer to Different School or Begin Study at Another Educational Level

USCIS reminded F-1 students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) that transferring to another school or beginning study at another educational level automatically terminates their OPT, as well as their corresponding employment authorization document (EAD). USCIS will begin to enter the EAD termination date into its newly updated systems after receiving the information from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).1:46 AM

Trump’s Crackdown on Students Who Overstay Visas Rattles Higher Education

The New York Times reports that effective August 9, 2018, the Trump administration plans to crack down on international students and visitors who overstay their visas, stoking fears in the higher education community that President Trump’s aggressive immigration policies will hinder university efforts to attract the brightest minds from overseas.

F-1 OPT can allow you to run your own company

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