In a bizarre move Tuesday, the Trump administration suddenly revoked its plan to revoke the visas of foreign students at universities going online in the fall. The move was announced with little fanfare in federal court. Multiple universities sued the administration over the new policy—and the administration caved.
White House officials told CNN the rescission was due to intense blowback they received from universities and the fear that this measure would be overturned like the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty [Trump administration drops restrictions on online-only instruction for foreign students, by Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, July 14, 2020]. Universities heavily emphasized the Supreme Court’s DACA decision in their complaints. These same officials say the administration will roll out a new policy that only targets new foreign students, not returning foreign students.
The scrapped policy allows foreigners to come to the U.S. for a service they can receive from their computer in their home country. There is no point to them coming to America if their school closes its campus and only offers online classes. Universities defended keeping foreign students because it would be “cruel” to send them home. There was no argument offered for why foreigners learn better from their computer in America versus in their home country.
It’s likely Jared Kushner was involved in this decision. He opposed the inclusion of student visas in Trump’s original immigration moratorium and he is always looking for ways to please liberal elites. Liberal elites were furious at the prospect of their schools not providing a foot in the door for foreign students.
The rescission indicates how sloppy the Trump administration is and how they always manage to mess up a good thing. Let’s hope the president’s second try at ending DACA doesn’t share the same pathetic fate.