US judge blocks new immigration rule deporting foreign students over visa violation

A US federal judge has issued a stay order against President Donald Trump's Administration's rule to make it easier to deport foreign students for even innocent mistakes in following visa regulations and prevent them from returning for as long 10 years by making subtle changes in the regulation.

Judge Loretta Biggs stopped the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) from temporarily enforcing the rule issued last August that allowed the deportation and penalizing of students who overstayed their visa for 180 days by changing the way in which the period was calculated.

She also ordered that the case against the rule to be heard expeditiously.

There are more than an estimated 250,000 foreign students of Indian origin in the US.

Biggs issued the stay order on May 4 at the federal court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on a case filed by two students of Chinese descent, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), three colleges and the Guilford College International Club.

She said in her ruling that the plaintiffs have "demonstrated a likelihood of success" in their case against the rule change and they would "suffer irreparable harm" without the stay, which she said would be applied nationwide.

The ruling -- and the eventual decision on the appeal against the rule, it if is favorable -- may protect students who were victims of fraud or were caught up in the sting operations like the one set up by federal authorities who created a fake institution, Farmington University, to catch visa brokers.

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