The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have sued President Donald Trump over a new policy that restricts foreign students, whose courseworks would be taught online, from entering/remaining in the USA.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the suit was filed today in the US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. The suit alleges that the modifications that were made to the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), came without warning.
The impromptu nature of the modifications, therefore, has left Harvard and MIT with no choice but to think it was “arbitrary and capricious”.
Recall that ICE had on Monday announced the eagerly awaited modifications ahead of foreign students’ return to US campuses for the autumn semester.
One aspect of the modified guidelines, which has thus far proven to be quite controversial, requires foreign students to remain in their home countries if their courses are going be taught online. Foreign students who are already in the US were also directed to leave the country if their courses are online-based.
Harvard University is one of the ivy league American schools that recently announced plans to teach their courseworks entirely online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard’s plan is such that students living on campus and off campus would attend classes online. However, the reviewed SEVP guideline by ICE has disrupted that plan.
CNN International quoted Harvard University President, Larry Bacow, to have said:
“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others.
“This comes at a time when the United States has been setting daily records for the number of new infections, with more than 300,000 new cases reported since July 1.”
Similarly, MIT’s president L. Rafael Reif, issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the development. According to him, ICE’s modified SEVP guidelines “disrupts our international students’ lives and jeopardizes their academic and research pursuits.”
He went further to write that MIT’s “international students now have many questions – about their visas, their health, their families and their ability to continue working toward an MIT degree. Unspoken, but unmistakable, is one more question: Am I welcome? At MIT, the answer, unequivocally, is yes.”
Note that this story matters because of its international ramifications. Harvard University alone has about 5,000 foreign students, some of whom are Nigerians. The revised guidelines by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is bound to disrupt these students autumn semester unless the US Government rescinds the directive.
President Biden conducts first military airstrike against Iran-backed militia in Syria
The US has carried out military action in an approved airstrike against Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria.
U.S President, Joe Biden conducted his first military action in an approved airstrike against Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria, in a response to rocket attacks against American interests in Iraq.
This was disclosed in a report by Reuters on Friday morning, which revealed that the airstrikes were “limited in scope, potentially lowering the risk of escalation.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria.”
“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” he added.
The Pentagon revealed that the airstrikes were targeted at multiple facilities used by Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) at a Border Control point.
What you should know
President Biden revokes Trump’s ban for green card applicants in US
Joe Biden has revoked Donald Trump’s order that blocked many green card applicants from entering the US.
The United States President, Joe Biden, on Wednesday, revoked former President Donald Trump’s order that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States.
Biden rescinded Trump’s proclamation limiting the number of new work visas for temporary foreign workers in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report from Reuters, the order by President Biden was provided by a communication from the White House on Wednesday, February 25, 2021.
Former President Donald Trump had in June 2020, signed the proclamation that suspended certain categories of non-immigrant work visas as part of the effort to revive the US economy and the need to protect US workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, President Biden rejected that reasoning in a proclamation while rescinding the visa ban and said it had prevented families from reuniting in the United States and harmed US businesses.
He pointed out that the suspension of entry imposed in Proclamation 10014, does not advance the interest of the United States.
What you should know
- The newly sworn US President had pledged to reverse many of Trump’s hardline immigration policies with immigrant advocates recently asking him to lift the visa ban, which was set to expire on March 31.
- The suspension order by former President Donald Trump for a certain category of non-immigrant work visas includes H-1B visas for work in high-tech industries and a range of others for low-skill workers, interns, teachers, and company transfers
- In October, a federal judge in California blocked Trump’s ban on those foreign guest workers as it affected hundreds of thousands of US businesses that fought the policy in court.
UK’s Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers not self employed
UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers be classified as workers rather than self-employed.
The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that the ride-hailing app firm Uber must classify its drivers as workers rather than self-employed.
Delivering his judgment, Lord Leggatt said that the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Uber’s appeal that it was an intermediary party and stated that drivers should be considered to be working not only when driving a passenger, but whenever logged in to the app.
By this pronouncement and ruling by the Supreme Court, the ride-hailing app firm, Uber must classify its drivers as workers rather than self-employed, BBC reports.
What they are saying
The former Uber drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, who originally won an employment tribunal against the ride-hailing giant in October 2016, told the BBC they were “thrilled and relieved” by the ruling.
Aslam, president of the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) said,
- “I think it’s a massive achievement in a way that we were able to stand up against a giant.
- “We didn’t give up and we were consistent – no matter what we went through emotionally or physically or financially, we stood our ground.
- “This is a win-win-win for drivers, passengers and cities. It means Uber now has the correct economic incentives not to oversupply the market with too many vehicles and too many drivers”
Aslam claims that Uber’s practices forced him to leave the trade as he couldn’t make ends meet is reconsidering his decision as he returns to driving for the app again, though the process is taking too long.
“It took us six years to establish what we should have got in 2015. Someone somewhere, in the government or the regulator, massively let down these workers, many of whom are in a precarious position”
Farrar, on his own part, highlighted that with fares down 80% due to the pandemic, many drivers have been struggling financially and feel trapped in Uber’s system.
- “We’re seeing many of our members earning £30 gross a day right now. The self-employment grants issued by the government only cover 80% of a driver’s profits, which isn’t even enough to pay for their costs.
- “If we had these rights today, those drivers could at least earn a minimum wage to live on.”
What you should know
- By this decision, tens of thousands of Uber drivers are set to be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay.
- The proximate implication of this ruling is that Uber could be facing a hefty compensation bill and have wider consequences for the gig economy.
- The gig economy is based on flexible, temporary, or freelance jobs, often involving connecting with clients or customers through an online platform.
- In a long-running legal battle, Uber had appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds.
- The Supreme Court’s ruling that Uber has to consider its drivers “workers” from the time they log on to the app, until they log off is seen as a key point.
Uber drivers typically spend time waiting for people to book rides on the app. Previously, the firm had said that if drivers were found to be workers, then it would only count the time during journeys when a passenger is in the car.
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