On Nov. 21, Emory joined 117 colleges and universities in filing an amicus curiae brief to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in support of international student employment in the United States. An amicus curiae brief is a document submitted by a third party that offers a court insight into a particular issue. Emory has submitted previous briefs opposing the 2017 travel ban and supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The 36-page brief was filed in support of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, a government program offered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows international students to hold a job directly related to their field of study in the U.S., according to the OPT website. Two types of OPT are currently offered to either students who have completed one year of study at a university or to students who have recently graduated.
The brief concerns the case Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union (WashTech) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which challenges the post-completion OPT offered to students who have graduated. WashTech has filed various lawsuits challenging the OPT since its first attempt to combat the program in 2014.
“Without OPT, the education that international students will receive in the United States will be less robust, and the ability of American colleges and universities to attract and educate the best and brightest from around the world will diminish,” the brief states.
The brief also praises the OPT for permitting “international students to continue, and deepen, their education by applying the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom to a professional setting.”
Emory offers workshops and advising through International Student and Scholar Services to international students looking to apply to the OPT.