The United States government rescinded its controversial decision to revoke foreign student visas whose courses move online due to coronavirus , a federal judge said Tuesday .
The universities of Harvard and MIT , with the support of a number of other institutions , had taken legal action against the move that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on July 6 .
“The government has agreed to rescind ” the decision as well as any implementation of the directive , Judge Allison Burroughs said in a brief hearing .
Harvard and MIT earlier this month had asked the court to block the order announced by ICE that students must leave the country if their classes are only online , or transfer to a school offering in- person tuition .
The measure was seen as a move by President Donald Trump administration to put pressure on educational institutions that are adopting a cautious approach to reopening amid the global COVID – 19 pandemic .
The universities say in their lawsuit that the order would harm students “immensely , ” both personally and financially .
There were more than one million international students in the US for the 2018 -19 academic year , according to the Institute of International Education .