On April 19, 2017 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech, a union representing American workers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, STEM, fields). WashTech challenged the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) regulations allowing for a 24-month extension of work authorization for foreign students who will be employed in a STEM occupation by U.S. companies that participate in E-Verify. The chief allegation brought by WashTech was that the regulations, which went into effect May 10, 2016, exceeded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority.
The court dismissed the lawsuit finding that WashTech failed to adequately state a claim on which relief could be granted against the regulations. The dismissal means that the current rules governing OPT and the 24-month STEM extension remain in place. F-1 students who will be employed in a STEM occupation will continue to be eligible for up to three years of OPT.
A similar lawsuit challenging employment authorization for those on H-4 status has been argued under the same premise and is currently pending. Given the outcome of WashTech’s lawsuit, it too is likely to be dismissed for lack of failure to allege a plausible claim for relief. A decision is expected in September 2017.