Implications for Obama’s immigration actions
March 17, 2015
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, John Miano who, along with the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), represents the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech) in a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for administrative extensions of work authorization to non-immigrants, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on DHS’s guest worker program called the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. WashTech, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America, says visas under the OPT program, which was recently expanded under the Obama Administration’s latest amnesty memos and will soon overtake the legal H-1B guest worker program, not only works to put corporate profits before the American worker but was promulgated in violation of federal immigration law. Mr. Miano’s testimony addresses these concerns as well as potential options for Congress in making pro-worker reforms.
Last November, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted WashTech members standing to challenge the legality of extensions of OPT work authorization to nonimmigrants increasing competition for American workers. The case, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. USDHS (Civil Action No. 14-529), has major implications for the ability of American workers to judicially challenge certain elements of the Obama Administration’s latest amnesty memos that expand dramatically the number of work visas given to foreign workers as well as the terms and durations of those visas.
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, who attended today’s hearing commented, “Since at least 1991, the OPT program has allowed foreign graduates to remain and work in the country beyond the terms of their student visas and in violation of federal law.” Wilcox continued, “With the Obama Administration’s recent announcement that it will expand the OPT program and with IRLI’s lawsuit moving forward in federal court, today’s Senate testimony from Mr. Miano comes at a perfect time.”
Video of the hearing and Mr. Miano’s written testimony can be found here.