Lawmakers push back on order to send international students back home amid online learning

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Lawmakers and some elite universities are pushing back on a Trump Administration rule that would send all international students back to their countries if their classes are all done online. 

“It’s outrageous,” Representative Judy Chu, D-California, said. 

Democrat Judy Chu says the Trump Administration’s order to send international students back to their home countries if their colleges don’t hold in-person classes means going back on America’s promise.

“These foreign students applied, were approved, and fully expected to complete their college education,” Chu said.   

“The new proposed order is ridiculously stupid,” Representative Ted Lieu, D-California, said. 

Congressman Ted Lieu says international students benefit the US. 

“They enrich the universities and colleges. They’re providing innovation and creativity to help the economy,” Lieu said. 

Lieu says he suspects the administration’s order is really aimed at pressuring universities to fully reopen in the fall. 

“It looks like a ham-handed way to do that,” Lieu said. 

It’s not just lawmakers pushing back, Wednesday morning MIT and Harvard asked a federal court to block the administration’s order.

Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli defended the order in a CNN interview Tuesday.

“There isn’t a reason for a person holding a student visa to be present in the country. They should go home, and they can return when the school opens,” Cuccinelli said. 

He says the order doesn’t dis-enroll foreign students. 

“If they’re going to be 100 percent online, we wouldn’t expect people to be here,” Cuccinelli said. 

Cuccinelli said the order does encourage universities across the board to commit to holding in-person classes.

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