AG Ferguson asks federal judge to block ICE deportation of international students

Washington Attorney General
Washington Attorney General's Office
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. 

SEATTLE, Wash. — Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked a federal judge to block the Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) plan to deport international students studying in the U.S.

Ferguson previously filed a lawsuit on Friday, arguing that the new rule is unlawful and harmful to students, schools and businesses.

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This rule is part of the Trump Administration’s plan to convince schools to reopen; with classes moving online, foreign students would have their visas revoked and would not be allowed reentry into the States.

RELATED: International students may need to leave US if their universities transition to online-only learning

The Attorney General’s Office says if a federal judge does not block the rule, it will go into effect on Wednesday.
Ferguson, in his lawsuit and restraining order against the Trump Administration, says that this will gut around $1 billion in revenue for the state and universities alike.

“Our universities and community colleges are speaking with one voice – this rule will significantly hurt their students, their budgets, and the health of their communities,” said Ferguson. “The Trump Administration is undermining public safety decisions made at the local level and jeopardizing more than a billion dollars in tuition revenue and economic activity in order to pursue a political goal of keeping schools open in the fall. We’re seeking to immediately halt this unlawful action.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office, several state schools have shared projected revenue losses if the visas are revoked:

  • University of Washington said they have 8,300 students on visas from 123 countries, who contribute up to $185 million in revenue to the school; they have already lost a reported $440 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Washington State University similarly has 1,869 students on visas and are anticipating 681 new international students in the fall. School officials told the Attorney General’s Office they received hundreds of emails from students within 24 hours of ICE’s announcement of the deportations.
  • The Community College Board said there are 13,000 students on F-1 visas in state colleges, contributing over $100 million to their revenues.