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Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech companies have joined MIT and Harvard in a fight to stop Trump's new visa rule

Business Insider logo Business Insider 7/13/2020 (Aaron Holmes)
a man riding a skateboard up the side of a building: Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA on June 30, 2020. Getty Images © Getty Images Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA on June 30, 2020. Getty Images
  • More than a dozen tech companies filed a brief Monday in favor of a lawsuit to block a new Trump administration rule that requires in-person teaching for student visas.
  • Under the rule, international students whose universities do not provide in-person classes this fall would be forced to return to their country of origin. 
  • The lawsuit, filed by Harvard and MIT, argues that the Department of Homeland Security did not adequately consider the rule's impact on the US economy before implementing it.
  • Nearly 20 tech companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Spotify, and PayPal said in their amicus brief that the Trump administration rule would hurt their sales and ability to recruit employees.
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Tech companies are urging a federal court to block a new Trump administration rule that would force many international students to leave the US, arguing that it could have irreversible long-term impacts on their business.

The rule would require in-person teaching for student visas, meaning international students whose universities do not hold in-person classes in the Fall would be forced to leave the US. Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block the rule last week, arguing that the Department of Homeland Security did not properly consider the rule's economic impacts before implementing it, and more than 60 other universities have echoed their concerns.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Spotify, Paypal, and more than a dozen other tech companies filed a court brief Monday in support of the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT. They argue that the ban will "inflict significant harm" on their businesses by reducing their customer base and hampering their ability to recruit top talent from US universities.

"America's future competitiveness depends on attracting and retaining talented international students," the brief reads. "Individuals who come here as international students are also essential to educating the next generation of inventors."

Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a tweet Monday that the company signed the amicus brief because of the belief international students should have "flexibility during this pandemic." LinkedIn and GitHub, both owned by Microsoft, also signed the brief.


Tech leaders have repeatedly spoken out against Trump administration policies that would hamper immigration, especially relating to international students. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who usually avoids political statements, slammed Trump's Muslim immigration ban when it was first implemented, as did Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

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