Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of cert to reconsider the D.C. Circuit’s decision affirming the validity of Optional Practical Training extension for STEM graduates, a program that expands access to hundreds of thousands of skilled workers for manufacturers and other American businesses, National Association of Manufacturers Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly released the following statement:

“Today’s decision ends a years-long legal battle, and the NAM Legal Center is proud to have fought to preserve the STEM OPT program, which will aid manufacturers in filling critical, skilled positions. Thanks to the NAM Legal Center’s efforts, the STEM OPT program will remain a vital talent pipeline, providing opportunities for those graduates in science, technology, engineering and math to enhance their education through hands-on work.”

Background: In 2018, after an anti-immigration activist group brought a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security seeking to invalidate the entire STEM OPT program, the NAM and two other business groups moved to intervene as defendants in the case. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in the NAM’s favor in 2020, holding that DHS acted within its statutory authority and in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act by continuing the STEM OPT program, a decision the D.C. Circuit affirmed in 2022. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the case maintains the Circuit Court’s ruling and preserves the STEM OPT program.

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