System statement on legal opposition to new ICE rules
July 10, 2020 5:18 PM

Dear students, faculty and staff:

We are writing to inform you that the University of Illinois System and its constituent universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield are working aggressively to legally challenge recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) restrictions on visas for international students.

We plan to file amicus briefs supporting litigation filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that challenges the new restrictions. We also are working with our peer institutions, higher education membership associations, and state and federal leaders to explore other potential legal avenues.

The new directives issued by ICE on July 6 would have dramatic adverse impacts on international students across higher education in the United States. The federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program announced that visas would not be issued to students enrolled in universities that offer only online instruction this fall. Those already in the United States would have to either leave the country or transfer to a school offering in-person instruction. Harvard and MIT filed litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on July 8 seeking to “prevent ICE and [the Department of Homeland Security] from enforcing” the new directive.

Our three universities are planning a hybrid approach to instruction this fall with both on-campus and online components, which should limit the impact on our students. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned about the severe impact the new directive would have across U.S. higher education and will vigorously defend international students and their access to the world-class educational experiences in our country.

We reiterate our commitment to our international students and will do everything we can to support them, especially now, during this period of extraordinary global challenge.

Tim Killeen

Barbara J. Wilson
Executive Vice President/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Robert J. Jones
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Karen M. Whitney
Interim Chancellor, University of Illinois at Springfield



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