Tufts files amicus brief, opposes new ICE regulations

Tufts announced on Thursday afternoon its decision to file an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) opposing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s announcement that international students will have their visas revoked if they are taking exclusively online courses in the fall.

Harvard and MIT indicate in the lawsuit that the new guidance from ICE forces institutions to conduct in-person classes and reopen their campuses.  The timing of this decision also makes it difficult for affected students to apply or transfer to other institutions offering this option, according to Harvard’s website.

In an email to the university community on July 8, University President Anthony Monaco denounced the guidance from ICE.

“Tufts will be working with other colleges and universities to make clear our vehement opposition to this policy and seek to have it changed,” Monaco wrote.

Executive Director of Public Relations Patrick Collins told the Daily in an email that the university signed onto the brief with other institutions “because of the rule’s potential to disrupt the lives of international students at [a] time when many universities, including Tufts, have decided to transition some classes online.

Collins reaffirmed the university’s support of international students. 

We want our international students to know: We support you, we are here for you, and you are an important part of our community,he said.

Tufts recorded similar legal opposition to an earlier executive order from President Donald Trump in 2017 attacking international students. On Feb. 3, 2017, Tufts joined several Boston-area colleges and universities, including Boston College, MIT, Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard and Northeastern University in an amicus brief in Louhghalam v. Trump, according to the website of MIT’s Office of the General Counsel.

Director of the International Center Andrew Shiotani wrote on the Tufts International Center’s website that the center will update its FAQ section in response to the announcement and will provide further updates in the coming days.