Duke Joins Higher Education Amicus Brief Supporting Federal OPT Immigration Program

Duke has joined more than 100 colleges and universities filing an amicus (friend of the court) brief in federal court defending the federal Optional Practical Training (OPT) immigration program.

OPT is a work authorization created in 1992 as part of the F-1 visa program for international students. It allows students from overseas to work in the U.S. for a year after graduation, to gain practical experience directly related to their course of study. The program was later tweaked to allow for graduates from STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) to work in the U.S. for up to two years.

More than 325,000 students and graduates participated in the program in 2017.

The program is threatened by a lawsuit from the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers. The suit challenges the Bush Administration regulation from 2008 creating a STEM extension. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is expected to change the regulations governing the program.

The Nov. 25 brief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which in July allowed the case to proceed.