Vanderbilt, peer institutions oppose new ICE guidance for international students, will file amicus brief

Vanderbilt University and more than 50 of the nation’s top universities and colleges plan to file a joint amicus brief in support of a lawsuit opposing new federal immigration guidance requiring international students with F-1 visas to leave the United States, or transfer to another school, if their institution offers remote-only instruction in the fall. The brief is expected to be filed early next week.

The amicus brief is being filed in support of a lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy. The suit asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to enjoin the rules from going into effect, citing, in part, that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

“As educators and researchers, we are strongly opposed to the federal government’s actions and the potentially devastating consequences for international scholars and higher education in this country,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente wrote in a message to the Vanderbilt community on July 7. “This guidance is counterproductive, short-sighted and, frankly, tarnishes America’s long history of groundbreaking scholarship, open collaboration and research, and deeply held ideals around the transformative power of education.”

As Vanderbilt prepares for the fall semester amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, supporting its students’ health and well-being is a top priority for the university.

“Along with our peer institutions, we are advocating for additional support for international students enrolled at institutions of higher education so they can continue their studies,” Diermeier and Wente said. “This is based on our belief that innovation and discovery that will allow the world to address its most pressing challenges—including the current public health crisis—can only come from the free exchange of ideas and a diversity of opinions, skills and backgrounds.”