US business groups sue Trump govt over curbs on H-1B, other employment visas

The lawsuit states that the US President did not have the authority to suspend the issuance or processing visas.
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Business groups in the US have sued the Donald Trump administration over curbs placed on employment-based visas. This includes the H-1B visas, the largest recipients of which were Indians. The lawsuit was filed by the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, TechNet and others.

Filed against the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department in San Francisco, the lawsuit states that US President Donald Trump did not have the authority to suspend the issuance or processing visas.

"Our lawsuit seeks to overturn these sweeping and unlawful immigration restrictions that are an unequivocal ‘not welcome’ sign to the engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses, and other critical workers who help drive the American economy. Left in place, these restrictions will push investment abroad, inhibit economic growth, and reduce job creation,” US Chamber CEO Thomas J Donohue said in a statement.

The lawsuit states that the US has benefitted from these workers, and that attracting high-skilled individuals is a net positive for the employment of American citizens. 

The proclamation issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had given high rates of unemployment for suspending the issuance of visas till the end of December. It had said that the country must “remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labour market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labour.”

The lawsuit states that many studies have shown that skilled immigration programmes benefit all participants in an economy.

It adds that the pandemic has caused an economic crisis, but the proclamation “does not bear a rational relationship to this problem”.

“One of the visa categories impacted, H-1B, is used predominantly by employers seeking to hire and retain individuals working in these fields, and in computer-related roles. Banning these individuals from entering the United States is thus not a remedy to current unemployment levels,” it states.  

Stating that this has affected small and medium size companies, the lawsuit states that companies have been forced to furlough or lay off many domestic workers because “operations that depend on temporary workers from abroad have been wholly suspended. Some companies will go out of business as a result of the Proclamation, unless it is swiftly enjoined.”

“The proclamation is arbitrary and capricious, it fails to address several critical aspects of the problem at issue, and it fails to take account of essential evidence,” it states. 

The lawsuit demanded that a judgment state that the proclamation is “in excess of the Executive Branch’s lawful authority”, restrain the department from implementing the proclamation, and that it be set aside. 

Earlier, 174 Indian nationals and seven minors filed a lawsuit against the proclamation on H-1B visas that would prevent them from entering the United States or a visa would not be issued to them. 

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