IOWA, USA - Iowa public universities are speaking out on a new federal directive that strips foreign students of their visas if they take all their courses online this fall.
The University of Northern Iowa issued a statement saying it's "disappointed" with the decision, while Iowa State's President Wendy Wintersteen said the school is "deeply concerned" about the policy.
The University of Iowa tweeted a statement expressing the importance of it's international program: "If International Programs has one purpose, it is to open the minds and hearts of our community to the reality that the world is a stronger and better place when we celebrate the humanity in every individual and in every nation."
Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli defended the federal decision in an interview on CNN, saying foreign students who take all classes online "don't have a reason for being here." Cuccinelli said, "They should go home, and then they can return when the school opens."
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning seeking to block the directive. The suit was filed against the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.