Manufacturers Notch a Critical Victory in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. DHS
Following Intervention by the NAM and Other Business Groups, D.C. Circuit Upholds STEM OPT Program
Washington, D.C. – Following a 2–1 decision by the D.C. Circuit affirming the validity of a program that provides hundreds of thousands of skilled workers for manufacturers and other American businesses, National Association of Manufacturers Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly released the following statement:
“The NAM Legal Center is incredibly proud of today’s victory, which helps ensure the continued availability of hundreds of thousands of highly skilled workers for manufacturing roles. As manufacturers continue to experience significant labor shortages, the STEM OPT program remains a critical talent pipeline, providing opportunities for high-skilled graduates to enhance their education through hands-on work. Today’s win builds on the NAM’s impressive track record of defeating unlawful restrictions and meritless attacks on critical visa programs.”
Without the STEM OPT program, manufacturers would be unable to fill critical positions requiring specialized training in science, technology, engineering and math. So, in 2018, after an anti-immigration activist group brought a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security seeking to invalidate the entire STEM OPT program, the NAM and two other business groups moved to intervene as defendants in the case. That motion was granted, and in December 2020, the District Court for the District of Columbia granted the NAM and its co-intervenor defendants’ motion for summary judgment, ruling that DHS acted within its statutory authority and in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act by continuing the STEM OPT program. The plaintiff activist group appealed to the D.C. Circuit, and today, the court issued its decision—rejecting the plaintiff’s bases for invalidating the STEM OPT rule and affirming the lower court’s judgment.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.