Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey along with 17 other state attorneys generals, including New Jersey and Connecticut, filed a lawsuit Monday against the Trump administration.
The lawsuit aimed at preventing a federal rule that "threatens to bar hundreds of thousands of international students from studying in the United States," reports the CNN.
In a press release Monday, Healy said the lawsuit filed in US District Court in Massachusetts against the Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement challenges what the attorneys general call 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."
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction to stop the entire federal rule from going into effect while the case is litigated. The attorney generals', according to the release, have requested a hearing as soon as possible on the matter.
Healey said the lawsuit, "alleges that the federal government's actions are arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion because they reverse previous guidance without explanation, input, or rationale – in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act – and fail to consider the need to protect public health and safety amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic."
Separately, there is a hearing Tuesday for a lawsuit filed by Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology seeking to block the directive, arguing it violates the Administrative Procedures Act.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last week that international students who are pursuing degrees in the US will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses,
The move may affect thousands of foreign students who come to the US to attend universities or participate in training programs, as well as non-academic or vocational studies.