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Making Sense of the New STEM Ruling

There’s little doubt that the entire U.S. immigration situation is in a state of flux as the nation’s leaders try to figure out how to fix a flawed immigration system that is creating much controversy throughout the country.

The latest indication of this came recently when U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle issued a ruling that essentially overturned a prior decision to give a 17-month extension to international students who are currently involved in work training programs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Her decision came after deciding the original order that extended the time from 12 months to 29 months didn’t follow proper procedures and post the ruling up for public comment as required by law. In a procedural move of her own, the judge also stayed her decision for a six-month period of time in order to allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) time to initiate the required posting of the proposed program changes.

The suit presented before Judge Segal Huvelle was filed by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers in 2014. The group’s argument stated that allowing these international students to extend their time working under the STEM program was paramount with extending the ability of technology companies to secure cheap labor from F-1 nonimmigrant visa holders while qualified American workers are having difficulty finding work.

This ruling comes at a time when President Obama is taking steps to expand prior immigration policies to allow more undocumented foreigners the ability to stay in America for a variety of reasons. The STEM program for international students was designed to promote the development of science and engineering workers in other countries where qualified individuals in these areas are desperately needed. Currently, DHS is looking at the ruling to determine how they wish to proceed.

If you’re concerned this new ruling might affect your current status or would like to learn more about applying for a visa, reach out to KS Visa Law, a leading San Diego immigration law firm offering free immigration consultations. Give us a call at (858) 874-0711. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

May 2024