in a surprising development, a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that it will
not permit international students on F-1 visas to take a full online course load this fall while studying in
the United States. As I wrote yesterday, this ruling has potentially serious implications for MIT’s
international students and those enrolled at institutions across the country.
This morning, in response, in federal court in Massachusetts. In the lawsuit, we ask the court to prevent
ICE and DHS from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.
The announcement disrupts our international students’ lives and jeopardizes their academic and research
pursuits. ICE is unable to offer the most basic answers about how its policy will be interpreted or
implemented. And the guidance comes after many US colleges and universities either released or are
readying their final decisions for the fall – decisions designed to advance their educational mission and
protect the health and safety of their communities.
Our international students now have many questions – about their visas, their health, their families and
their ability to continue working toward an MIT degree. Unspoken, but unmistakable, is one more
question: Am I welcome?
At MIT, the answer, unequivocally, is yes.
MIT’s strength is its people – no matter where they come from. I know firsthand the anxiety of arriving in
this country as a student, excited to advance my education, but separated from my family by thousands
of miles. I also know that welcoming the world’s brightest, most talented and motivated students is an
essential American strength.