Trump Administration Lost Again in H-1B Visa Case
For the third time this month, the Trump Administration lost a case that would have limited H-1B applicants looking for work in the United States. The administration and the Department of Labor, according to U.S. District Court Judge Sullivan, violated the Administrative Procedure Act by seeking to put forth a rule without allowing for public comment. The rule would have dramatically increased the wages of H-1B visa holders and employment-based green card applicants. The case that reached the U.S. District Court was Purdue University et al. v. Scalia. Stellar IT was added to the case as a plaintiff.
Judge Sullivan, on December 14, 2020, ordered the Department of Labor to provide new wage determinations from the ones issued on October 8, 2020. Earlier rulings by courts in two other cases were released prior to this latest ruling.
Prior Rulings Against the Trump Administration
A Northern District of California federal judge negated a regulation issued by the Trump administration on December 1, 2020, that would have increased the salary for H-1B visa holders and other immigrants with employment-based green card applications. The wage increases would have been 40 to 50 percent above the level for current U.S. wage earners in certain jobs. The jobs were defined as specialty occupations. Because of this, applicants with talents in these fields would have found it almost impossible to qualify for the H-1B visa.
Two days after this ruling, a New Jersey federal judge blocked the Department of Labor from putting the new rule for H-1B wages into action. The plaintiffs in this case were ITServe Alliance and Dots Technologies, along with a few other companies. According to experts, the reason for the rule was to raise the H-1B visa holder salaries so high that no one would hire them.
Trump Administration’s Argument Failed
The Trump administration argued in front of Judge Sullivan that the new wage rule was published as quickly as possible, lacking public comment so that companies would not file applications for H-1B applicants since they would have to pay much higher wages. The judge called the explanation insufficient. The president had already announced his intent to issue this new rule in a White House press briefing in June 2020 and again at a press event in August. This action was taken, according to the Department of Labor, to protect wage earners in the United States, an argument that Judge Sullivan called unimpressive.
Future of Department of Labor and DHS Regulations in This Matter
The important question is whether the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security regulations are no longer viable. Experts believe that the administration may have run out of time to republish these changes prior to January 20, 2021, which is inauguration day.
In addition, if the departments try to republish the rule by making right its notice and comment issues, Judge White of the Northern District of California will undoubtedly continue to hear arguments against it. It is expected that the administration will continue in its efforts until inauguration day.