Immigration Reform Group Says Skilled-Worker Visas Hurting Americans

‘DHS should remember that as a government agency, it exists to serve Americans, not to further the interests of foreigners…’

TECH CEO: Tightening H1-B Visa Rules Good for Indian IT Firms

U.S. immigration officials face a delicate balancing act between encouraging skilled foreign tech workers with favorable visa agreements and ensuring the protections of American workers. Photo by Al Jazeera English (CC)

(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) The Immigration Reform Law Institute is stepping into the fray on behalf of American tech workers who fear having their jobs outsourced to immigrants under relaxed worker-visa policies, according to a press release from the firm.

On Wednesday, the group filed a brief on behalf of Save Jobs USA, appealing the decision of a federal district court to throw out their prior lawsuit for lack of standing. Earlier, the group sued the Department of Homeland Security for granting wholesale work authorization to spouses of H-1B holders.

The case, Save Jobs USA v. DHS, is currently pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The district court absurdly held that the idea of H-1B spouses competing with American workers was mere “speculation”—despite evidence showing that many of these spouses were tech workers themselves and used work authorizations to scoop up American tech jobs.

Ironically, in August, a group of high-profile corporate CEOs penned a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complaining that a cap on skilled-worker visas due was producing a labor shortage in the tech sector.

Although their goal was the exact opposite of the current lawsuit—pressing DHS to relax the visa policies—they offered evidence that supported the Save Jobs USA claim.

Among the litany of policy concerns the Business Roundtable mentioned was the proposed tightening of spousal work authorizations. “These spouses are often highly skilled in their own rights and have built careers and lives around their ability to contribute to companies here,” they wrote.

IRLI countered that DHS violated the right to worker protections of Save Jobs USA members by going forward with an expansion of the work authorizations.

“My client’s members are American tech workers who were replaced by foreign labor here on H-1B visas,” said John Miano, an attorney for IRLI. “Now they apply for jobs over and over, and never even get interviewed. The simple reason is that DHS has authorized so many aliens to compete with them.”

Not only that, but the department lacked the authority to allow the visa holders’ spouses to take American jobs and decided they possessed it anyway—similar to their work authorizations of illegal aliens in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“DHS should remember that as a government agency, it exists to serve Americans, not to further the interests of foreigners,” Miano said.

Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for IRLI, didn’t try to sugarcoat the department’s possible motivations in putting the priorities of non-Americans first.

“DHS was unduly influenced by an industry interested in cheap labor when it issued this rule, with no legal basis whatsoever,” he said. “That kind of agency capture doesn’t go away overnight just because a new administration is installed. For months and months, DHS has been promising the court it would rescind this rule, but it has taken no action. Until it does, we will be working to have the courts do the job for it.”

The Immigration Reform Law Institute describes itself as a “public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration,” which liberals assert is always a positive good. IRLI is affiliated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which aims to curb both illegal and legal immigration.

Recent statistics cited by Democrats in the ongoing immigration debate against building a wall at the U.S.–Mexico border have brought renewed spotlight on flaws within the current worker-visa program.

In a widely viewed Youtube video, former congressman Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, said “Since 2007, the undocumented immigrant population has grown more through visa overstays than unauthorized border crossings.”

Many, however, point to the fact that visa overstays have dropped under the Trump administration and that the screening of visa recipients makes them less likely to commit crimes, voter fraud or other abuses of America’s social safety-net than those crossing the border illegally.

President Donald Trump, despite his opposition to illegal immigration, has stated that he supports a path to citizenship for skilled foreign workers who use the appropriate channels to enter the U.S.