After the Trump administration passed a new directive threatening to expel international students from the country if their universities don’t offer in-person classes, tech firms, businesses, and universities are banning together to fight the measure. Harvard and MIT have already sued the administration over the new policy, and now they’re being joined by Facebook, the US Chamber of Commerce, and a dozen other tech firms and business advocacy groups.
An amicus brief was filed Monday with the US District Court of Massachusetts, supported by Google, Twitter, Spotify, and others, arguing that the government’s directive violates decades of federal law meant to protect businesses from arbitrary decisions that could negatively impact businesses.
According to the brief filed by Facebook, “The Administrative Procedure Act [APA] required defendants … to consider the serious consequences for the US business community and the entire economy that would result from a directive requiring more than half of all international students to leave the country, and also to take account of the substantial reliance interests of US companies that would be disrupted by such a decision.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who opposes the measure, wrote in a separate amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of 17 states and Washington DC. It says, “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.”
Between major universities, tech companies, and other businesses, it’s pretty clear that a broad range of industries is negatively affected by this decision and oppose it both on economic and moral grounds. Expect more companies and institutions to join the fight as time goes on.