Organizations Sue for H-1B Visa Program Data from USCIS

The debate over H-1B visas and immigration won’t end anytime soon, and major reforms to the system might prove a long way off. But that hasn’t stopped the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) from trying to speed the process by suing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

IRLI and FAIR want USCIS to give up information on the top 20 employers (and top 100 nonprofits) using H-1B visas, including salaries, visa approval rates, and more. “While H-1B employers are required to pay foreign workers at market value, the fact is that flooding the labor market serves to drive down wages and limit opportunities for American workers,” Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI, wrote in a statement accompanying the announcement of the lawsuit.

“There is no shortage of Americans who have technical skills or are currently acquiring them in U.S. schools,” Wilcox added. “The H-1B visa program should not be exploited for business objectives while many qualified Americans are struggling to find employment.”

For those interested in actually plunging into the lawsuit’s wordy thicket, the case is FAIR v. USCIS, No. 18-0876 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia).

Critics of the H-1B system saw Trump’s election as a huge chance at reform. But aside from a sweeping review of H-1B policy still underway at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and State, any changes to the visa have largely been incremental. For example, USCIS recently instituted a policy demanding that employers prove they’re using H-1B visas to fill specialized roles. In addition, the White House has moved to restrict the spouses of H-1B workers from obtaining their own visa to work, the H-4.

Some groups are also pushing in the opposite direction, trying to keep the H-1B system more open. For example, six members of Congress (representatives Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, Mark DeSaulnier, Barbara Lee and Jerry McNerney) recently signed a letter asking the federal government to revisit its decision on H-1B spouses obtaining H-4 visas.

Whether or not IRLI and FAIR succeed in gaining access to that rich seam of USCIS data, the H-1B debate seems set to continue for years. And if that data is made public, it could provide quite the interesting snapshot into how the visa system is working.

30 Responses to “Organizations Sue for H-1B Visa Program Data from USCIS”

  1. This is not surprising. All the time US companies have had, to take advantage of cheap offshore labor, has given them lots of time to strengthen their position for hammering down wages and hourly rates to Americans.

    The only way at this stage for Americans to fight back, is to be super aggressive with accumulating the data as proof and forming our own business lobbies and keeping them very, very heavily funded.

    OR… March on Washington!!

    One critical aspect is definitely not getting through… WE ARE NOT BEING LOUD ENOUGH!!!!!!

  2. John charter

    I wish all Indian people go back to their home country and serve their home country. I never understood the fact that when these Indians are paying the tax on time, are peaceful, are running companies and creating so many Job opportunity in US for citizens , why the heck stupid trump and the government is misleading people and making it difficult for the americans also for his political gain. If all Indians go back, I am sure their will be a severe crisis of talents in US. Let this happen to make the stupidest President of the century realize it. He is just good in gambling and now playing with people’s life.

    • John Charter

      You are highly delusional if you think america needs the indians that have been imported here. It’s the other way around, indians are very desperate to come and live in the US.

    • Unfortunately the current H1B /H4 crisis restricts qualified US. Tech workers from getting jobs. The US. IT individuals are also facing reverse discrimination. H1B’s only want their own brothers in positions and often will say that a US. candidate is not qualified . We are outsourcing jobs that can be done by US. Tech workers. The comments regarding the H1B program driving down wages is a fact of life. Many organizations ignore the time limits imposed on the foreign workers. Many state agencies totally ignore Federal laws. It’s time for protectionism.

  3. It is not H1B workers who should be targeted instead it is the offshoring policy of the organizations which is stealing the american jobs. Add restriction to US companies on offshoring numbers there by have Americans get those jobs.

  4. Seems to me that even the Trump Administration isn’t really reforming the H1-B program, which leads me to believe that he’s only interested in low-hanging fruit (Hispanic illegal aliens). If he really went full force against the Fortune 1000 firms that utilize H1-B workers he’d ruffle too many feathers in community of 1%ers that he rubs shoulders with. It’s much easier to crack down on and dramatize the dastardly “threat” of some Guatemalan day laborers in rural Kentucky than it is to bring CEOs to heel.

    • My husband has always found work for the last twenty years. Now it is impossible to find employment. Several years ago there were so many software jobs. Today it’s almost impossible to find a decent job.

    • Agreed. Not only that, but I suspect India helped troll on his behalf during the elections. H1-B is the reason highly qualified Americans and newly graduated American college students can’t find work at a salary reasonable enough to pay off student loans, purchase homes, save money, and raise families. The government and big, greedy businesses are creating a poverty culture in the USA. Big biz managers just LOVE getting their asses kissed by visa holders, no matter how totally incompetent they are. Many Americans have had it with “begging” for dead-end jobs, being treated like shit and having to report to a less qualified foreigner. Many are leaving the US, soon the US will be India if Trump or his successor doesn’t do something about it.

  5. John doe

    Innovation and business are eating software. Companies that could accumulate mostly of the talent enginners which are spreaded around the world will end up taking over the world.

  6. Josh Wrangler

    H1b and h-4 visas are one huge factor in affecting many American Citizen lives trying to get into STEM field profession. Not to mention the average American citizen waste a lot of money of getting expensive IT college degrees or certifications, IT bootcamps, and or going for IT center/online training in trying to compete with foreign workers and still not landing a STEM career. I graduated back in summer of 2016 and have not found any work with my IT degree and I can’t blame solely on the H1b or H-4 but blame companies that are evolving/updating technology and skillset so fast which are hard to get hands on experience unless you got access to it if you are working for the company or have a good friend that works for the company and could steal the company current programs/system to practice on, which in turn risk your friend losing his job for helping you out to be innovated. Most colleges can’t keep up or be equipped with the technology in the STEM profession. Only students attending church t graduating from IVY universities will get employers attention and those people will get first dips in internships that lead to good fulltime role transition. Then the rest of jobs get in the hands of H1b or H-4 visa holders. American citizens then get whatever scraps are available.

  7. H1B principals (mostly Indians) will not stop until they will continue to abuse the loophole of H1B. There is a cap for a reason but they are also lobbying that their spouses will be issued an EAD and they can easily use that path to blend into “specialty occupation” job market. The other loophole that also abused is the Student visas (mostly Indians) that seeks for EAD’s – there should be an audit once the visa are issued.

  8. Evan Pappas

    Putting a cap on H1-B, based on nationality would solve the problem. And would help to get some real specialists from Europe, Australia, NZ etc IF and WHEN they are really needed.