IRLI Seeks to Protect American Workers in D.C. Federal Court

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December 8, 2022

IRLI Seeks to Protect American Workers

Making the government put the American worker first

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a petition for rehearing in the case of Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The suit challenges a DHS program called Optional Practical Training (OPT), which unlawfully permits non-student aliens to remain and work in the United States on student visas for three years after graduation. IRLI represents the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, Local 37083 of the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO (Washtech), a labor union that represents American technology workers located throughout the U.S. and whose members are forced to compete for jobs with foreign labor.

Before a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, IRLI attorneys had shown that permitting aliens to work on student visas long after they were no longer students violated the terms Congress has set forth reserving student visas “solely” to students. To get around IRLI’s argument, the panel, in a 2-1 decision in October, held that the terms of all temporary visas stated in the law are only entry requirements that DHS is free to ignore once aliens are here. In response, IRLI has petitioned the full DC Circuit, sitting “en banc,” to overrule this radical holding, which transfers from Congress to federal agencies massive new power to set the actual terms of temporary visas.  

“The panel decision departs from all prior precedent and must be overturned,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The panel gave sweeping power to Biden to rewrite nonimmigrant visa statutes to provide as much foreign labor as industry may demand, whatever Congress has said in the law—all to the detriment of American workers. We hope the full DC Circuit vacates this starkly anomalous decision and reaches the opposite result. If not, we will take this to the Supreme Court.”  

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