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Maine Colleges Show Support For Program That Attracts International Students

Maine Public file

Bates, Colby and Bowdoin colleges are joining with others across the nation to support a program that attracts international students to their schools.

All three colleges signed on to a legal brief defending the "Optional Practical Training" work permit. Those permits were recently extended, but that prompted a federal lawsuit from a tech workers union in Washington State.

Bates College Dean of Students Joshua MacIntosh says if that lawsuit succeeds, it could hurt the higher education institutions in the United States.

"That erodes what we want to be doing here, which is bringing in students from all over the world to be engaged in learning with one another," MacIntosh says.

The suit brought by the Washington State Tech Workers Union argues that the Department of Homeland Security exceeded its authority when it extended the program in 2016.