A group of U.S. Universities has provided formal comments to the USCIS in opposition to their proposed rule which would change the unlawful presence rules for international students. A copy of the letter is provided here.
The Trump Administration has handed down a new policy memorandum targeting international students by changing the definition of unlawful presence to essentially be synonymous with a status violation. The new memo is slated to go into effect on Aug 9, 2018. The penalty for accruing 180 days of unlawful presence is a 3 year bar from the U.S. The application of the memo to actions that occurred prior to Aug 18, 2018 are quite complicated and must be assessed on a case by case basis. However, what is clear, is that any status violations that occur after Aug 9, 2018 will be treated as accruing unlawful presence. For those OPT STEM students working in the staffing industry, it is believed that this new policy change is directed precisely at you to self-enforce the new prohibitions promulgated by a web-site update that all but essentially prohibits OPT STEM students from being employed by staffing firms at 3rd party sites. There is a public comment period that is open until June 11, 2018. Changes to this policy memo based upon public comments are possible prior to Aug 9, 2018. We will update as developments occur.