Colorado Sues Federal Government Over New Rule That Could Force International Students To Leave

Phil WeiseR, Phil weiser
David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser heads into news conference Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

Colorado is joining a group of 18 states in a lawsuit seeking to halt a new visa rule that could bar international students from studying in the U.S.

Attorney General Phil Weiser joined the suit Monday.

Weiser's office said the lawsuit challenges the federal government’s “cruel, abrupt, and unlawful action to expel international students amidst the pandemic that has wrought death and disruption across the United States,” according to a Monday news release.

The new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy released last week would affect Colorado's 31 public and 85 private postsecondary institutions. It reverses previous COVID-19 guidance provided to colleges and universities.

Under the policy, international students in the U.S. on visas who are enrolled in online-only postsecondary classes would no longer be allowed to remain in the country.

According to Weiser's office, there are more than 11,000 international students studying in Colorado.

“The thousands of international students studying in Colorado have already had their lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and safety risks associated with both remaining in the U.S. and returning home,” said Weiser. “They, and the institutions they attend, deserve to continue the plans schools painstakingly developed to ensure student and educator safety before this abrupt reversal. And ICE’s message that the United States does not welcome foreign students is wrong, counterproductive, and illegal.”