There have been false rumors that the Trump Administration is going to propose a restriction on F-1, H-1, L-1 and others to enter the U.S. and may terminate OPT/STEM programs. These are just baseless rumors.
As a legal matter, the administration CANNOT suspend or cancel OPT/STEM without changing immigration regulations which can take about half a year at least if not more (unless emergency rule-making is made, this too takes few months). We do not see any likelihood of such an action against these popular programs, and programs which help U.S. to retain the best and the brightest. There has been call by Universities Executives to the U.S. Congress to support international students as their enrollments have been falling in recent years. Administration also CANNOT suspend or cancel H, L, E, O, P work visa programs or F, J, M visa programs as these are based on Congressional Act not just regulations.
The administration can suspend the "entry into the U.S. for certain class of nonimmigrants and immigrants" pursuant to Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Administration has suspended the entry of certain "immigrants" and F-1 students with ties to research or military affiliate of Chinese government. Suspension of entry of the immigrant has been challenged at the court already. It is likely it can be ordered as overreach of presidential powers and not in consistent with laws. These Orders are based on Sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Those who are abroad, it will be wise to re-enter the U.S. to resume their study or work when flights open-- this will avoid one being subjected to the suspension if and when suspension happens.
Section 212(f) of INA
(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.
Section 215(a) of INA: Travel control of citizens and aliens
(a) Restrictions and prohibitions
Unless otherwise ordered by the President, it shall be unlawful-
(1) for any alien to depart from or enter or attempt to depart from or enter the United States except under such reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may prescribe;
(2) for any person to transport or attempt to transport from or into the United States another person with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the departure or entry of such other person is forbidden by this section;
(3) for any person knowingly to make any false statement in an application for permission to depart from or enter the United States with intent to induce or secure the granting of such permission either for himself or for another;(4) for any person knowingly to furnish or attempt to furnish or assist in furnishing to another a permit or evidence of permission to depart or enter not issued and designed for such other person's use;(5) for any person knowingly to use or attempt to use any permit or evidence of permission to depart or enter not issued and designed for his use;(6) for any person to forge, counterfeit, mutilate, or alter, or cause or procure to be forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered, any permit or evidence of permission to depart from or enter the United States;(7) for any person knowingly to use or attempt to use or furnish to another for use any false, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered permit, or evidence of permission, or any permit or evidence of permission which, though originally valid, has become or been made void or invalid.
Note: This is a blog post by Adhikari Law PLLC and should NOT be construed as a legal advice.
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