NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Rutgers, moving to protect its more than 8,000 international students from new rules that could force them to transfer or leave the country, has announced it will be joining a lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT.

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway called new guidelines proposed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that would prohibit international students from taking course loads that are delivered entirely remotely “draconian,” according to a statement released by the university on Friday.

Under ICE’s proposed guidelines, international students would have to immediately leave the United States if all of their courses are being delivered remotely.

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“Presenting these new policy proposals in the midst of the global pandemic, on the heels of announcements that universities across the country will be providing remote instruction, and only weeks before the start of the next semester is both revealing and troubling,” Holloway said.

“Our mission is to educate and improve the lives of our community locally and globally. Our international students are a critical part of that mission, and we will do everything in our power to defend their ability to remain in the United States and continue their education at Rutgers,” Holloway added.

Harvard and MIT filed the action against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE proposed policy in Federal District Court in Boston on Wednesday. The suit, which seeks a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, will have its first hearing on Tuesday.

“We are standing with the finest institutions in America who are joining as amici in this lawsuit to stop the imposition of proposed rules which, on their face, seem to be motivated by politics during the pandemic. The proposed rules are thoughtless and in direct conflict with the values we hold dear,” the Rutgers president added.

Among the other institutions that have indicated that they will join as amici are virtually all Rutgers’s fellow Big Ten universities and universities in the Ivy League.