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Penn was among 58 other colleges and universities to submit the amicus brief. Credit: Son Nguyen

Penn submitted an amicus brief yesterday in support of the recently filed lawsuit by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over new Immigration and Customs Enforcement restrictions.

The brief aims to block the enforcement of ICE guidelines, announced on July 6, which mandate that non-immigrant students under F-1 or M-1 visas must take at least one in-person class this fall in order to stay in the United States, and that those registered for a fully online course load will be barred from entering or staying in the country.  

Penn is joined by 58 other nationwide colleges and universities in submitting the brief, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. 

The 59 amici represent a considerable portion of the U.S. academic community, and enroll more than 213,000 international students each year through the international student visa program, the brief reads. All eight Ivy League universities, excluding Harvard, which filed the lawsuit on July 8, joined in filing the amicus brief.

The amicus brief argues in favor of the lawsuit's claim that the new guidelines "will harm continuing F-1 students immensely," adding that the directive does not consider the impact the policy will have on the health of students, faculty, staff, or the surrounding communities in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Penn President Amy Gutmann formally announced the University's intention to file an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit on July 9. In an email to the Penn community, she denounced the guidelines and wrote that Penn Global has reached out to all international students and is prepared to support them in filling the necessary requirements to maintain valid immigration status.

"International students are a vital part of our scholarly communities, and their participation in academic life enhances the educational experience for all," the amicus brief reads. "The preliminary injunction should be granted on a nationwide basis.” 

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