May 10, 2023
Dear Presidents’ Alliance Member,

In this week’s Member Update:
  • Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Seeks Supreme Court Review of its Challenge to OPT
  • Welcome our new staff members!
  • Peruse the New Undocumented Student Communities of Practice Directory & Network
  • Remarks by Adam Hunter, Deputy Asst. Secretary for Immigration Policy, DHS, at the Presidents’ Alliance’s Higher Ed Pathways event on April 21, 2023.
  • Immigration in Brief
  • Calendar of Events
  • Top Reads
Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Seeks Supreme Court Review of its Challenge to OPT. After the DC Circuit Court of Appeals declined en banc review of a decision upholding the Department of Homeland Security’s Optional Practical Training rule, the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (Washtech) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. Washtech is challenging the administration’s decision to allow F-1 international students to work in the U.S. after graduation through the OPT and STEM OPT programs. The Presidents’ Alliance has coordinated amicus briefs, representing colleges and universities, supporting OPT (see here for additional information). The Presidents’ Alliance will monitor whether the Supreme Court grants review, a decision which is not expected until October or later, and will update members regarding any appropriate next steps. Also this week, the CIS Ombudsman published a Tip Sheet for F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training on avoiding I-765 processing delays.
Welcome our new staff members! The Presidents’ Alliance is thrilled to announce a few of our new and incoming staff members.
Axelle Nassirou started in April, and is the Project Associate for the Refugee Students Initiative with the Presidents’ Alliance. She is an attorney with global experience advising public institutions and private organizations, notably in public international law. While she has gained expertise in U.S. immigration law doing pro bono work for several nonprofits in D.C., her interest in immigration stems from her experience as an immigrant and her dedication to social justice. She has previously founded a social venture EdTech, which aims at improving African students' global mobility and access to Higher Education. She holds an LL.M. from the George Washington University Law School and an MA in Gender and Development from the Australian National University.

At the end of May, Dr. Felecia Russell will be joining as our new Director of the Higher Ed Immigration Portal. Felecia identifies as a Jamaican-born, American-raised, Black Woman. She is also DACAmented. Her research explores the experiences of Black undocumented students and the intersections of race and immigration status. Her upcoming book, Amplifying Undocumented Black Voices: Overshadowed college students' persistence in the intersection of immigration and race in America, is focused on understanding the experiences of undocuBlack students on college campuses. She is the Director of Undergraduate Admission at California Lutheran University, and also serves as an adjunct professor there, where she teaches and writes about undocumented students, educational leadership, and undocuBlack methodologies. She is the founder of the UndocuBlack Research Collective, a research group focused on releasing stories about undocuBlack people.

In June, Young Chun (Jason) Koh will be joining as our first Senior Manager for Communications. He is currently the Digital Content Strategist at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he has developed and managed numerous digital and multi-media campaigns. Prior to joining the Vera Institute, Koh worked for immigrant rights organizations in New York City. He holds a BA in political science from the State University of New York at Albany, and authored an op-ed of his experience as a DACA recipient and first-generation immigrant, “Losing My Legal Status In This Country Feels Like A Cruel Joke (Buzzfeed)
Peruse the New Undocumented Student Communities of Practice Directory & Network. Recently, the Presidents’ Alliance launched its Undocumented Student Communities of Practice Directory with the goal of sharing effective practices, hosting topic-specific meetings and working groups, and facilitating connections for those who work with undocumented students. Over 100 practitioners and experts are already listed. If you’d like to be listed and join the listserv, you can sign up here. We will start sharing information and opportunities for opt-in meetings and communities of practice with those who have joined later in the summer. Please reach out to Luz Bertadillo ( with any questions.
Remarks by Adam Hunter, Deputy Asst. Secretary for Immigration Policy, DHS, at the Presidents’ Alliance’s Higher Ed Pathways event on April 21, 2023. The Deputy Assistant Secretary provided powerful opening remarks, a transcript of which you can view here. During his remarks, he noted:

"Our colleges and universities enroll many different non-citizen students, navigating increasingly complex circumstances that reflect these global trends. There are international students who are studying here to gain skills that they seek to bring back and build their homelands. There are international students who are seeking to stay and find work and live in the United States. And there's probably a lot of international students who haven't made up their minds what they actually want. There are refugee students who are displaced and cannot return home. And of course there are students who know no other home but here, but yet due to their status, or lack thereof, face barriers to achieving their dreams. 

It's critical that we work together to ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, regardless of their background, or immigration status. As an Administration, we support creating pathways for students to work, stay and even become citizens if they choose. However, we need Congress to act. There's been no significant immigration reform in decades, and clearly our laws don't reflect the way we live, study, work, move in the 21st century, nor do they reflect our aspirations for the future."
Immigration in Brief
  • USCIS announced Special Student Relief for Hong Kong on May 4, 2023. Special Student Relief gives flexibility to international students regarding duration of status, course load, and employment eligibility. SSR for Hong Kong will be effective through February 5, 2025. 
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released new workplace immigration research and accompanying policy recommendations. The SHRM membership survey provided findings indicating that over 2 in 3 (68%) employers agree that they would benefit from a more streamlined process for organizations to access American-educated, foreign-born talent. American universities are the most common source from which employers recruit foreign-born workers (40%).
  • The Department of Homeland Security announced a re-parole process for Afghan nationals, open to those who arrived under humanitarian parole as part of Operations Allies Welcome. Starting on May 17, DHS will also begin to host Afghan Support Centers across the country to provide information regarding available immigration and social services. Dates and locations for Afghan Support Centers will be announced here. For those interested in supporting legal services for Afghan newcomers or seeking legal support for Afghan newcomers, please check out opportunities through Welcome Legal Alliance.
  • Today! Our partners at the Foundation for California Community Colleges are hosting a webinar today with Dan Berger, a member of the Presidents’ Alliance Legal Advisory Council. Overview of Employment-Based Visas for DACA and TPS Recipients will be held Wednesday, May 10 at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m PT.
  • Title 42 is set to end at 11:59 pm tomorrow, Thursday, May 11th. The National Immigration Forum has a useful set of FAQs on Title 42; Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Andrew Selee of the Migration Policy Institute, has an excellent commentary on the administration’s post-Title 42 strategy, and specifically, the regional processing centers; and Stuart Anderson has a great analysis that shows increasing harsh enforcement measures is ineffective in reducing illegal migration, but rather, what works is when the U.S. opens up legal pathways as well as other economic and demographic changes.
Calendar of Events

Today, May 10, 2023, 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m PT | WebinarOverview of Employment-Based Visas for DACA and TPS Recipients, held by the Foundation for California Community Colleges | Register
May 11, 2023, 11 a.m - 12:30 p.m. ET | WebinarInternational Students and Scholars: Powerful Stimulus for a Dynamic Economy, held by the Garden State Immigration Policy Institute | Register Join Stuart Anderson, a higher ed and legal panel, and Miriam Feldblum for conversation and dialogue on these crucial topics.
Top Reads
Thank you for your support and engagement.

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director
Diego N. Sánchez, Director of Policy and Strategy
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration