According to a Pew Research Center report, discrimination and racism have increased in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, particularly for Asians.
California is set to become the first state to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s new policy that prevents international students from staying in the U.S. if their college or university switches to online-only classes in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, made the announcement Thursday during a virtual news conference with California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and California State University Chancellor Timothy White.
It will be the state’s 86th lawsuit against President Donald Trump, Beccera said.
“Shame on the Trump administration for risking not only the education opportunities for students who earned the chance to go to college, but now their health and well-being as well,” Becerra said. “Not on our watch.”
The announcement comes a day after some colleges and universities filed similar lawsuits or announced plans to do so. On Wednesday, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston. Stanford University and the University of Southern California said they would also join the lawsuit.
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The University of California also announced plans Wednesday to file a lawsuit.
“At a time when college students across America are struggling to deal with the challenges and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic while focusing on their studies, this capricious and illegal order from the federal government plunges them into deeper anxiety and uncertainty,” said UC President Janet Napolitano in a statement.
“It is illegal, unnecessary and callous,” she added.
The Trump administration revealed its new guidelines in a memo issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday. It says that international students will have to leave the country, or face possible deportation, if their schools switch to remote learning, which many have planned to do amid the pandemic.
The mandate also orders international students enrolled at those universities to leave the U.S. or transfer to a school that offers in-person learning.
Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; Daniel Gonzalez, Arizona Republic
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