There are two relevant updates to discuss.
First, in terms of the STEM OPT court fight, the District Court this week dismissed the action against USCIS for the STEM OPT rules. The Court found that USCIS had fixed the necessary issues and did not agree that USCIS overstepped its bounds with OPT. However, it is still possible, and very probable, that this decision will be appealed to the Circuit Court.
Second, the court action against USCIS for the sudden changes in the October 2015 visa bulletin was dismissed. As you may recall, USCIS and DOS retrogressed dates mid-month because USCIS had failed to properly inform DOS of the expected demand if the dates were not retrogressed. The Court dismissed this suit saying that the Visa Bulletin is not a final rule that can be challenged in court.
If you have any questions leave a comment below or send me an email. Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.
As we reported previously (see this post), USCIS was sued by a group of individuals who claimed that the STEM OPT extension rules (granting an additional 17 months of OPT) where illegal. The Courts have already found that rule making provisions of Federal Law were not followed and required USCIS to undertake a new rule making by February 16, 2016. While everything seems on track so far (Just recently the Office of Management and Budget finished their review of the proposed rule, the last step before publication), the question still remains whether USCIS will be able to get the new rule in place by then, whether the Court will accept the new rule and USCIS efforts and what happens to the people already on STEM OPT extensions once that deadline passes.
To answer that last question, USCIS had previously stated that the STEM OPT cards would remain valid after February 16, 2016 regardless of what happens with the Court. However, just recently, USCIS changed its tune, and they are now saying that the decision of whether those EAD cards remain valid is still under review. This makes the request that USCIS recently made to extend this deadline to May 10, 2016 even more important.
We will update you with any new information as soon as USCIS updates us.
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.