Facebook, Google, Microsoft join battle against Trump foreign student ban

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Closing half foreign students from recruiting pipeline will harm US companies and economy, say tech biggies.

After top American universities, it’s now the turn of tech biggies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft to join the legal battle against Trump administration’s new rule barring foreign students taking online-only classes.

“Closing off more than half of all international students from participating in the recruiting pipeline for American businesses will thus harm companies and the entire economy,” they say in a legal brief.

It will also “disrupt reliance expectations based on prior policies permitting international students to remain in the United States.”

Apart from Google, Facebook, Microsoft,  top tech companies joining the suit include Salesforce, Adobe, LinkedIn, PayPal, Twitter, Dropbox and Github.

RELATED: Foreign students face deportation if US schools go online (July 7, 2020)

Like the educational institutions, tech majors are arguing that the Trump administration “did not take account of the substantial benefits to US businesses from international students’ employment in the United States during and after their course of study.”

Nor did it consider American “businesses’ reliance on international students to provide a critical element of their workforce.”

They also spoke of “long-term benefits to businesses and the entire economy from international students who remain in the United States, and from those who find permanent employment outside the United States.”

Besides foreign tech professionals coming to the US on H-1B visas, American tech companies greatly rely on the large pool of international students who come to the US to pursue higher studies.

For instance, both search engine giant Google and tech major Microsoft are led by India-born CEOs, Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella, who came to the US as students.

RELATED: Academics, immigrant bodies, lawmakers oppose international student ban (July 10, 2020)

Faced with the dilemma of complying with the new Trump administration directive amid a raging coronavirus pandemic or lose lucrative foreign students, a few institutions have adopted a hybrid model of online and in-person classes.

While Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Johns Hopkins University have filed lawsuits against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “arbitrary and capricious” order.

Several other universities, including California system. Cornell, Princeton, Stanford University and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are backing the legal challenge.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian students in the US with F-1 visas for full-time study at an academic institution and M-1 visas for vocational or other nonacademic training will be affected by the new ICE rule.

RELATED: Harvard, MIT sue US authorities for barring online-only foreign students (July 8, 2020)

More than a million foreign students are currently studying in the US with a recent Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) report putting the number of Indian students enrolled in US academic institutions at 194,000 in January this year.

According to a Commerce Department international students contributed $44.7 billion to the US economy in 2018. They also supported around 460,000 jobs in the US in the 2018-19 academic year, international education advocacy group NAFSA estimated.

Indian American Senator Kamala Harris and House member Pramila Jayapal also joined 100 fellow Democratic lawmakers in demanding a reversal of the rule which they have condemned as ‘irrational, xenophobic and a health risk’ to the community.

Many other bodies have backed the demand. These include Advancing Justice, South Asian Americans Leading Together, Central American Resource Center, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.


Johns Hopkins joins battle against Trump’s ‘cruel attack’ on foreign students (July 13, 2020)

Joe Biden vows to lift Trump’s H-1B ban if elected (July 1, 2020)

US says foreign students still welcome despite new rule (July 8, 2020)

Indian students asked to stay in touch with schools regarding OPT (June 18, 2020)

Canada leads the way in attracting and assimilating international students (May 13, 2020)

One Comment

  1. Jake Leone

    Okay, this is the law, why won’t Congress just change the law? Because allowing people to come in on an F-1 for online courses could allow those same people to get an OPT visa. A STEM OPT visa is good for 27 months of work in the United States. And right now, with the unemployment rate at above 11% (although falling fast), we need every job we can get to help existing unemployed citizens and Green Card holder.
    Many Tech companies are beginning to layoff workers. I don’t think we will have a worker shortage in IT for a long time.

    But on this, the Trump administration gave a pass for the spring semester on this matter.

    Students will probably save more on rent and so I don’t think this will be a big hard ship.

    Who’s hurt the most. Obviously Universities providing services of housing, food, and other amenities. But the can get around the law, by ensuring visibility of the student in at least one in-person class. We can do this, safely, with separation, masks, and basic testing. Will it cost more, yes, but the safety of the American public is important. Remember the 911 hijackers were all here on Student Visas.

    Who’s also hurt bad, Tech companies relying on OPT STEM workers to be directly onsight. But, frankly, there are millions of unemployed Americans. And Tech companies are just now starting to lay people off in droves. So I think these jobs, typically starter jobs, will be needed to keep Americans off the unemployment line.

    Trump also, earlier, did an executive order to change from a lottery for H-1b visas, to a system where Salary will determine who gets an H-1b visa. This should greatly help the qualified people coming here to get an H-1b visa and should limit the less profitable (more destructive) usage (which is where most of the H-1b visas are used) Offshore Outsourcing. Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, never changed this from a lottery to one where salary is used to determine entry. They had 30 years to fix this, but never did. And the reason is that lobbying forces liked the lottery, which was gamed and mostly won by Offshore Outsourcing companies. Most of our big tech companies have contracts with those same Offshore Outsourcing companies.

    Biden says he will rescind that order, on Day-1. Clearly, our jobs are all on the chopping block with Biden who will bargain them away for so much legacy like Obama did. Obama gave us the slowest recovery in U.S. History, because he bought into the line that companies are unable to find workers. While at the same time, thousands of IT, Tech, and STEM workers were OPENLY being replaced at Disney, Southern California Edison and dozens of other companies. And forced to train their H-1b replacement.

    Trump is doing the right thing on this, but Congress could act to change the law regarding online course work. But of course, if you do this, then people will come here and take online courses just to get a valuable OPT STEM visa, and then proceed to take away low level jobs from Americans and Green Card holder, at a time when we really need those jobs. Not to meantion the security implications of not verifying location of people here on a F-1, weekly. And we have all paid dearly for that one in the past.

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