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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

Judge Extends Stay of Invalidation of STEM for 3 Months

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By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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A U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, who invalidated USCIS’s 17-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension rule for STEM recipients, but stayed the decision for six months, in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers vs. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has granted the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) request for an additional 90 days of the stay.

In the Judge’s initial decision, she found DHS did not have good cause to publish the OPT extension regulation in 2008 as an emergency rule; thus, it was not exempt from the notice and comment requirement. But, the Judge stayed her decision until February 12, 2016.

One of the reasons that the Judge granted the additional 90 days for the stay was due to the unprecedented number of comments in response to the notice-and-comment rulemaking. Specifically, there were 50,500 comments filed. DHS argued that the invalidation of the 17-month STEM extension, because it could not properly evaluate the 50,500 comments, would create a hardship on participating workers and employers. The Judge agreed and thus extended the stay.

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