A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday on whether to grant the Department of Homeland Security additional time to finalize its proposed Optional Practical Training regulation.

The hearing will take place in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., which issued an order Aug. 12 giving DHS until Feb. 12 to promulgate a new rule authorizing the OPT extension for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. DHS proposed a new rule in October and recently filed a motion seeking an extension of the court’s deadline to May 10. The plaintiffs in the case, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech), opposed the request and will argue that DHS should not be given more time.

At the same time, WashTech’s legal challenges to the OPT program also remain pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

BAL Analysis: The District Court judge will now have an opportunity to hear arguments from both sides before ruling on DHS’ request for additional time. Current rules governing the STEM extension of OPT remain in place. BAL will continue to provide updates on the ongoing litigation and the regulatory process.

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