Monday, December 2, 2019

Is OPT in peril? Colleges sign amicus brief opposing end of OPT

More than 100 U.S. colleges signed on to an amicus brief opposing a lawsuit that seeks to end the optional practical training program, which allows international students to work in the U.S. for up to three years after graduating while staying on their student visas.

Inside Higher Ed summarizes the lawsuit, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers V. Department Of Homeland Security et al. The colleges in the amicus brief say that ending the program would severely harm the ability of U.S. universities to attract international students., numbers that have begin declining in recent years. The colleges also argue that OPT is crucial to the quality of education international students can get in the U.S. 

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, a labor union known as WashTech, argues in its brief that the Department of Homeland Security exceeded its regulatory authority in creating the OPT program, effectively establishing a large-scale foreign guest worker program without congressional approval. "Because aliens on OPT are not pursuing a course of study at an academic institution that will report termination of attendance, because there is no statute that authorizes employment on F-1 visas, and because no statute authorizes aliens to remain in student visa status after they have graduated and are no longer attending school, the OPT program is contrary to law and in excess of DHS authority,” the union said in a motion for summary judgment filed in September.

MHC (h/t Michael Olivas)

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