International Students Handed Victory As Court Dismisses Appeal in Unlawful Presence Lawsuit


New York, August 4, 2020 -- On August 3, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ended litigation around the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s unlawful presence (ULP) policy by dismissing the appeal to a lower court’s decision to preliminary enjoin the administration’s unlawful presence policy. Previously, U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs issued a decision permanently enjoining the new unlawful presence policy, which DHS initially appealed before asking for the case to be dismissed last week. The policy, as laid out in the memorandum Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants, would have made it easier to impose multiyear bans on re-entry for international students and scholars holding F, J, or M visas. 

The New School, Guilford College, Haverford College, the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, all members of The Presidents’ Alliance, along with the International Club of Guilford College, filed the original suit to challenge the new policy in October 2018. In December 2018, the American Federation of Teachers and two individual MAVNIs joined as plaintiffs. The Presidents' Alliance also coordinated an amicus brief signed by over 60 institutions of higher education in support of the legal challenge. 

The suit presented compelling evidence of how international students and scholars add immeasurable value to the educational environment of all host institutions, are a key reason why American colleges and universities are the world’s leading destination for higher learning, and bring significant benefits to the U.S. economy.

Commenting on the government’s decision to withdraw the suit, New School President Dwight A. McBride stated, “This outcome demonstrates the importance of upholding the integrity of our nation’s commitment to welcome and educate international students. Students from around the globe are a vital part of our academic community and we are unwavering in our commitment to those from outside the U.S. who choose to learn, explore, and create at The New School.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.




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