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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Foreign Students Challenged

How a Little-Known Program for Foreign Students Became Embroiled in a Hot-Button National Debate

Karin Fischer | January 20, 2016

Thousands of foreign students could be forced to leave the United States if a challenge to an obscure federal program is not resolved in the next few weeks.
The program, Optional Practical Training, has become the latest flash point in the contentious debate over immigration.
It just might be the biggest controversy you’ve never heard of — even if you’re on a college campus.

Now, though, the Obama administration says it won’t be able to meet the February 12 deadline, citing, in part, an "unprecedented" 50,500 public comments on a draft rule published last fall — 2.5 times as many comments as on any other regulation proposed by the agency. It has asked the judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court here, to extend the deadline three more months.
That’s left students on OPT, or those thinking of applying for the STEM extension, in limbo.
The University of Georgia has 315 students on OPT, about 60 of them on the extension. Ashley Johnson, an international-student adviser at Georgia, plans to hold a workshop on the proposed changes this week, although she admits, "I really don’t know what I’ll say."

<more at; related links: (Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Practical Training) and (Foreign Tech Students Are Given More Time to Stay in U.S. After Graduation. April 10, 2008)>

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