Google, Facebook and other tech companies join legal challenge to foreign students rule

Google, Facebook and other tech companies join legal challenge to foreign students rule
© Sean Gallup/Getty Images

More than a dozen tech companies filed a brief Monday backing a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from stripping foreign students of their visas if the schools they attend go exclusively online this fall.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed the lawsuit last week after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that international students whose courses move entirely online would be required to leave the country, rescinding a previous plan to grant exemptions to student visa holders.

More than 60 universities filed a brief backing that case earlier Monday, while 17 states and the District of Columbia sued separately to block the rule.

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The tech companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and PayPal are arguing the ban will "inflict significant harm" on their businesses.

"America's future competitiveness depends on attracting and retaining talented international students," the companies said in the brief.

"Individuals who come here as international students are also essential to educating the next generation of inventors," they added.

Tech companies have been outspoken in opposition to the Trump administration's attempts to limit immigration, especially when it comes to international students.

However, many of them provide tools used by ICE and Customs and Border Protection to enforce existing immigration laws.