Business groups including the Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation are suing the Trump administration to block its restrictions on temporary work visas intended to assist unemployed Americans as the country recovers from the novel coronavirus.
Besides the Chamber and retailers, the National Association of Manufacturers TechNet and International Training and Exchange named the Department of Homeland Security and Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, as well as the Department of State and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as defendants in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit takes aim at a June 22 proclamation by President Donald Trump extending a ban on green cards issued outside the United States until the end of the year and adding many temporary work visas to the freeze, including those used heavily by technology companies and multinational corporations.
“Putatively invoking presidential authority…the Proclamation effectively repeals entire visa categories for temporary workers,” the lawsuit says. “In issuing the Proclamation, administration officials noted that its purpose is to “clear out this workspace for Americans”—that is, to substantially alter the behavior of domestic employers – by banning entry of more than 500,000 individuals this year alone.
“In this way, the Proclamation takes a sledgehammer to the statutes Congress enacted with respect to high-skilled and temporary worker immigration. While the President’s powers…are broad, they do not authorize the President to nullify duly enacted statutory provisions.”
The categories the business groups specify include H-1B visas for skilled workers, specifically technology; H-4 visas for spouses; H-2B visas for seasonal workers; J-1 visas for researchers, scholars and au pairs; and L-1 visas for executives who transfer to the U.S. after working for the same employer abroad.
“This proclamation is meant to protect American jobs but instead it threatens the millions of rank-and-file workers whose jobs rely on experts coming up with the latest technology to keep retail moving forward,” said National Retail Foundation Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Stephanie Martz in a statement.
“Advanced computer and IT jobs are already hard to fill, and retailers need to be able to bring in talent from wherever they can find it.”
Tuesday’s lawsuit is similar to one filed a week ago on behalf of 174 Indian nationals, including seven minor children.
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