On Thursday, former Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville called into Boston Public Radio to discuss the Trump administration’s latest immigration policy, which would force international students to leave the U.S. if their colleges or universities don't offer in-person classes.

Reville called the move a “bullying tactic” on the part of the president, who he described as solely focused on rebooting the economy, nearly four months into the U.S. coronavirus pandemic.

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"He wants to get the economy started, he wants to return to normal — even if a scientific analysis of the data on the ground would suggest it’s not time to return to normal,” Reville said. "But the wish gives rise to the shouting, and so he’s going to do whatever he can to push universities to open at levels they don’t feel safe operating at, and so that’s what we have here ... a push on the international students to say, ‘If you’re attending an institution that’s all online, then you have no right to stay in the country.'"

Reville said the policy was self-defeating, because of how higher education and international interest in American universities fuels the nation's economy.

"You know, education is probably the fourth or fifth largest export that the United States has,” he said. "It’s vital to the economy over all, not just to the financial health and well-being of the universities.”

“To throw roadblocks in the pathway of institutions that are trying to do their best now to serve [the international student] population is just really ill-advised, and I’m glad to see it’s going to be challenged in court,” he said.

Paul Reville is former state secretary of education and a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where he also runs the Education Redesign Lab. His latest book is "Broader, Bolder, Better: How Schools and Communities Help Students Overcome the Disadvantages of Poverty."