International students have filed a federal class action case against USCIS on its processing delays on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and improper rejections. The case was filed at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on the day before yesterday. Named plaintiffs’ attorneys have set up a Google Form for those who want to join as named-plaintiffs. If the class is certified, it would cover all the students who filed OPT between October 1 and at least the filing of the lawsuit. Additional plaintiffs can join to be named plaintiff but it is not required to benefit from this lawsuit so long . For the last few years, USCIS has gained notoriety for its increased delayed in the processing of the OPT and other applications, and these increases are demonstrated in historical national average processing times.
The case asks for:
- withholding of removal for students who lose their F-1 status while waiting for USCIS to open/process/adjudicate,
- mandamus to adjudicate on an expedited basis and provide weekly updates to the Court,
- a declaration that USCIS and ICE have violated their legal obligations to the plaintiffs and class,
- relief from grace period expiration, technical rejections (requesting USCIS issue RFEs rather than outright rejections),
- accept and consider applications submitted within 60 days after rejection,
- allowance for the full 12 months of OPT if USCIS’s delay would mean or has resulted in a foreshortened OPT period,
- recovery of attorneys fees and costs, and other relief as the Court finds just and equitable.
The plaintiffs seeks two (2) nationwide classes. The members of proposed classes are:
- OPT Class
All F-1 students who reside in the United States and submitted an OPT application to USCIS on or after October 1, 2020, and have experienced an undue delay in the opening, processing and/or adjudication of their application.
- STEM Extension Class
All F-1 students who reside in the United States and submitted a STEM Extension application to USCIS on or after October 1, 2020, and have experienced an undue delay in the opening, processing and/or adjudication of their application.
Anyone who are not included these classes will have to bring their own lawsuit or bring another class action, or these named plaintiffs can seek an amendment of these classes.
Note: This is a blog post by Adhikari Law PLLC and should NOT be construed as a legal advice. Changes in immigration policies and procedures are complex and may require a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer. You can contact us at (+1) 202 600 7742, or email us at email@example.com if you will have any question on this topic or other legal matters.