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17 US states sue Trump admin over visa rule on foreign students

Washington, July 14 (IANS) Seventeen US states and the District of Columbia sued the administration of President Donald Trump to reject the federal government’s recent rule stripping foreign students of their visas if the institution they are enrolled in only offers online teaching this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Led by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, the lawsuit came exactly one week after the US Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released guidelines vowing to invalidate foreign students’ F-1 and M-1 visas if the educational institution they are enrolled in switches to online-only courses, possibly depriving them of their legal status of stay in the United States, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

“The Trump Administration didn’t even attempt to explain the basis for this senseless rule, which forces schools to choose between keeping their international students enrolled and protecting the health and safety of their campuses,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in Boston, sought an injunction to stop the entire rule from going into effect, accusing the federal government of engaging in a “cruel, abrupt, and unlawful action to expel international students amidst the pandemic that has wrought death and disruption across the United States.”

Joining Massachusetts in the lawsuit are the attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The lawsuit alleged that the administration’s “actions are arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion because they reverse previous guidance without explanation, input, or rationale,” adding that the new guidelines violated “the Administrative Procedure Act – and fail to consider the need to protect public health and safety amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The lawsuit includes a request for immediate preliminary relief blocking the rule from going into effect while the case is litigated, and the attorneys general have requested a hearing as soon as possible,” the Massachusetts attorney general’s office said in a press release.

Announced on July 6, the ICE’s controversial order said that international students who are only offered online courses in the upcoming semester “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”

Those who violate the rules “may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings,” the ICE said.

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An Indian American doctor known for his work among refugees and the poor is preparing to file a federal case over a policeman in Aurora in Colorado state pulling a gun on him in a threatening manner while he was entering his own property, according to media reports. Civil rights lawyer David Lane, who is representing Paramjit Parmar, said he is preparing a federal lawsuit against the city claiming that an Aurora police officer used excessive force when he held a pistol in front of Parmar’s face, the Sentinel reported over the weekend. Lane believes the incident was racially motivated, KUSA TV reported. Although the incident took place in March, the video made by Paramjit Parmar on his cellphone and another from the bodycam worn by the officer have gone viral only now amid the national protests against police brutality against minorities after an African American man, George Floyd, was killed in Minneapolis by police. “It wasn’t until the George Floyd protests that I felt any societal support on this,” Parmar wrote on the Medium website. Parmar works with refugees and his clinic, Ardas, and provides services for them and for the poor. He wrote that the incident began when he was driving into a building he owns and saw a car parked there blocking his garage and honked. When the policeman came from the vehicle with his gun drawn, Parmar wrote that he began recording on his cell phone when he heard a noise like the gun being cocked. The policeman shouted an obscenity at him and had the gun at his head, he wrote. And he when he asked him to leave his property he demanded he prove that he owns the property, which also houses facilities and asylum seekers. Lane told KUSA TV station that anytime police draws a gun it is considered “use of force.” He was prepared to not file the suit if the Aurora Police Department would sit down with them and discuss the matter. In a lawsuit the jury can only award him money at the expense of taxpayers but “they can’t fire the cops, they can’t change policies,” he explained, according to the station. Full report on our website. Link in bio. . #race #discrimination #colorism #equality #indianamerican #blm #bipoclivesmatter

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