WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — An ongoing dispute over the extension of Optional Practical Training for a special group of F-1 visa students(STEM) continues to boil over with the a group Washington Alliance of Technology Workers mounting yet another lawsuit, hoping to bring the issue into the national limelight in an election year.
The group has brought the issue to court on a multitude of occasions, having being defeated in each instance.
Friday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged a D.C. federal judge to to toss the technology union’s latest suit challenging a revised foreign student OPT work rule, saying the new claims still don’t hold up.
Homeland Security argued that the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers’ claims lack merit and is unable to conclude any alleged injury was caused by the 2016 regulation — which went into effect in May and allows certain F-1 foreign students with degrees in science, technology engineering or math from U.S. schools to extend their initial 12-month OPT to 29 months and more.
Earlier this month, a judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security pay a technology workers union more than $42,000 in a dispute over a case on the OPT for F-1 student visa holders, far less than the $465,000 the group had sought.
The order, issued by U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, said Homeland Security would be required to reimburse the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, otherwise known as WashTech, for 15 percent of certain fees and costs, which came to $42,239.
“Especially in light of plaintiff’s marginal victory, the court finds that an award of 15 percent of plaintiff’s remaining fees and expenses is appropriate,” Huvelle wrote.
WashTech’s suit was first launched in 2014, challenging a 2008 interim rule extending the “optional practical training” program from 12 to 29 months for certain science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — students. The program allows individuals on an F-1 student visa to work in the U.S. during or after their studies at an American school.
In November of the same year, a judge threw out WashTech’s challenge against the 12-month OPT program as it existed before 2008. However, she later vacated the 2008 rule after finding that DHS did not show it faced a true emergency situation that would allow the agency to issue the rule without notice and comment.