Sometimes, it helps to have friends in high places.
A coalition of powerful U.S. technology companies and trade organizations threw their support behind a legal challenge — launched by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — to block the federal government from banning international students from attending online only classes on U.S. soil in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. And Big Tech’s involvement may have been a key factor behind the administration’s last minute about-face on Tuesday.
Revocation of the rule means that the U.S. Department of State may again issue visas to international students enrolled in U.S. schools for the fall semester. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection no longer has authority to deny those students entry to, or continued residence in, the country.
Yet the Trump administration’s aborted effort was noteworthy for the big guns that joined forces to block the move. A coalition