"Harvard’s Asian quotas have been ignored by our federal agencies for too long."

The U.S. Justice Department has threatened to sue Harvard University over its alleged Asian-American student admissions quota.

The Telegraph reports that a letter dated 17 November from the department demands Harvard to turn over records including applications for admissions and evaluations of students by 1 December. Justice officials had requested the information in September.

Harvard are accused of pursuing a “strategy of delay” by the department, which has threatened to sue if the university does not meet its deadline.

“We sincerely hope that Harvard will quickly correct its noncompliance and return to a collaborative approach,” the letter said, adding that “Harvard has not yet produced a single document.”

In a 2014 federal lawsuit, a group of students alleged that Harvard limited its number of Asian Americans admitted each year. The Justice Department’s inquiry is related to the lawsuit.

A statement from Harvard on Tuesday said it will “certainly comply with its obligations”. It added that the university would also need to protect students’ and applicants’ confidential records but is “seeking to engage the Department of Justice in the best means of doing so.”

Edward Blum, the legal strategist behind the 2014 lawsuit against Harvard has backed the department’s investigation.

“Harvard’s Asian quotas, and the overall racial balancing that follows, have been ignored by our federal agencies for too long,” Blum said in a statement on Tuesday. “This investigation is a welcome development.”

Seth Waxman, a Harvard lawyer said it was “highly unusual” for the department to open an investigation into a complaint that was filed two years ago.

Waxman demanded the investigators share their case files with Harvard to guarantee the confidentiality of the university records.

“For obvious reasons, the Department of Justice generally does not share its civil investigative case files with the targets of its investigations,” the department responded.