Today the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that it will not hear the WashTech case (22-1071 WA ALLIANCE OF TECH. WKRS. V. DEPT. OF HOMELAND SEC., ET AL.) that challenged the legality of the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to create and maintain its Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for international students (F-1). This puts the case to rest once again, and leaves in place the lower courts' decisions. The following is a statement by Fanta Aw, PhD, executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to not take up the WashTech case against Optional Practical Training is an important victory for U.S. higher education and has far-ranging implications for U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. As NAFSA has long argued, enabling international students to advance their education through applied learning is essential to attracting them to our colleges and universities. Amid an increasingly competitive global education market, we cannot afford to lose this time-tested tool for drawing the world’s best and brightest to our classrooms, campuses, and communities.
“While the high court’s decision to leave OPT intact resolves a major area of uncertainty for international students, it remains true that they do not have a direct path to permanent legal status in the United States after they graduate. We will continue to press Congress on the need to modify immigration law so the world’s best and brightest may remain in this country and continue to contribute their talents.
We will also remain watchful of how other U.S. Supreme Court cases in the current term will be decided, such as Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo which challenges Supreme Court precedent recognizing federal agencies’ authority to interpret law and create programs such as Optional Practical Training.”
About NAFSA: Serving more than 10,000 members and international educators worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. Visit us at www.nafsa.org/press. To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit www.nafsa.org/takeaction. Resources to guide our members on Optional Practical Training can be found at https://www.nafsa.org/professional-resources/browse-by-interest/stem-opt-washtech-litigation.