Consent Order Issued in Li v. USCIS, a Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Certain OPT Delays

On 7/23/21, the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division issued a consent order in Li v. USCIS, a class action lawsuit challenging the delayed adjudication of applications for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The Consent Order outlines the terms of agreement between the parties.

Specifically, the parties consented to the following:

  1. For applications for OPT and STEM extensions filed between October 1, 2020, through October 31, 2021, USCIS commits to processing within 120 days. Processing means that the application will be approved, denied or an RFE issued within 120 days.
  2. The interim relief announced on February 26, 2021, continues for all cases filed between October 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021. This includes:
    • A full 12 months of OPT irrespective of the requirement OPT be completed within 14 months of graduation.
    • OPT will be granted for the full period recommended by the DSO, irrespective of the time of adjudication
    • If an EAD has been issued for less than these time periods, USCIS will issue a corrected EAD upon request.
    • Rejected applications which were originally submitted on time can be resubmitted and will be processed as if received on the original date (the full period of OPT will be granted, but the original I-20 will be accepted without the requirement of a new I-20.
    • Requests for Evidence will be issued instead of a denial for missing or deficient signatures.
    • OPT applications can be submitted up to 120 days (instead of 90) before completion of the program until October 31, 2021.
  3. USCIS will provide monthly reports until all cases filed before October 31, 2021, have been adjudicated, to permit the Court and Plaintiff’s counsel to monitor compliance. The Court retains jurisdiction during this time period.
  4. The parties agree to negotiate any issues of noncompliance in good faith. If the problems cannot be resolved, the parties may request Court intervention.
  5. USCIS will pay Plaintiff’s counsel $45,000.00
  6. The Consent Order does not constitute an admission of wrong doing.

    If there are any applicants who believe their application is not treated appropriately pursuant to this Order, please contact subject line “Consent Decree.”

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    Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21072703.

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