Saturday, August 15, 2015

How can the DC District Court Invalidation of the 17 months STEM extension affect the H4 EAD program?

In a recent decision of Wash. Alliance of Tech. Workers v. DHS, 8/12/15, the DC District Court invalidated the famous president Obama OPT 17 months extension stating that the rules were promulgated without notice or public comments.  However, the court stated that due to undue hardship on the technology sector the court will not reverse the existing cases and will grant until February 2016 for the government to run the OPT STEM extension on the regulatory board (federal register) just like the H4 EAD went through on the same regulatory board.

What might happens next to the OPT extension?

The question is whether the public comments will be favorable or unfavorable and what will the Department of Homeland Security do if there are more negative comments on the matter?  In case the stem extension does not make it through the regulatory board, there is a chance that no OPT extension will be granted and those who already benefited from such an extension will also be able to keep it to the end of the term.  However, the situation might be more confusing in case it is decided that all the extensions will be immediately invalidated.  At this point only time will tell us about the future of the OPT extension program.

How does the OPT extension invalidation influence or affect the H4 EAD?

First of all with the invalidation of the OPT extension, more applicants who are eligible for H4 EAD might actually apply for the H4 work permit because of the only other option available.  Second, it teaches us that the District judge refused to recall the entire OPT extension cards obtained through STEM extension based on an undue hardship on the technology sector.  Based on this rationale, in case there are more lawsuits on the H4 EAD, the judge might adopt the same approach.  But foremost, the H4 EAD went through the DC judge's prescribed solution on OPT Wash. Alliance of Tech. Workers decision. This means that the H4 EAD actually went through the notice and public comments before actually become law.

While this Wash. Alliance of Tech. Workers decision is another blow to the Obama executive actions, fortunately the administration is not willing to give up on its approach.  We hope that the public understands the full impact of removing the F1 student OPT extensions option.  It is a fact that foreign student program is a major source of income for the United States  as well as creating a competitive edge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics  for America. The result of cutting the potential STEM students their ability to experience and earn on an OPT will actually have a negative impact on this industry and related industries. This was actually mentioned in the Wash. Alliance Tech. case.

Lately we have been seeing many anti-immigration or so-called workers' groups sue on new Obama immigration executive actions. The restrictive approach which many of such groups are are taking will in the long run not really benefit America and its vision of the 21st Century.  United States has led the world when it comes to technology and science,  and research have shown that recently many of the leading edge innovations are thanks to legal immigrants.  As such, trying to make it difficult on the same immigrants will ultimately result in our great losses to this great country. We hope that the American people will understand the real implications of restrictionist moves.

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