The Trump administration issued a directive on July 6, stating that international students attending schools operating entirely online may not remain in the US. Schools, according to the initial directive, are supposed to report their reopening plans by Wednesday.
Now, the White House could be reconsidering that amid swift backlash.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that White House and Department of Homeland Security officials are weighing scaling the directive down, citing people familiar with the matter. A scaled down version of the ruling could result in international students already in the country getting to stay while newly enrolled students would not get to come, according to the Journal.
In a news conference last week, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the initial ruling : "You don't get a visa for taking online classes from, let's say, University of Phoenix. So why would you if you were just taking online classes, generally?"
The multistate lawsuit represents over 370,000 international students at over 1,100 colleges, according to the filing. Those same students contributed roughly $14.5 billion to the economy in 2019, according to the states and DC.
Students say the Trump administration's anti-immigration stance has changed their "idealized vision" of the US , with one telling Insider's Inyoung Choi she is considering transferring to another country. A new study by the National Foundation for American Policy found that enrollment of new international students at US universities is projected to decline this year by 63% to 98% the lowest level since World War II.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.