The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has sued US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to obtain information on employees and employers using the H1B visa program.
The non-profit, which campaigns to reduce both legal and illegal immigration in the United States, says it chose to file the suit after the USCIS failed to the produce precise information it was seeking.
The lawsuit adds a new twist to the seemingly never-ending outcry over the visa program, which is designed to allow US businesses, particularly Silicon Valley-based technology developers and service providers, to source high-skilled talent from around the globe.
In its complaint, FAIR has urged the USCIC to provide access to records of the top 20 H1B visa employers and top 100 non-profits employing through the program. It also requested information on the company-wide visa-approval rate, workplace location, lowest wages paid to the employees, and the skill level of each worker.
The H1B visa program has been under fire since President Donald Trump issued his ‘Buy American Hire American’ executive order, describing the American immigration policy as “broken”.
“While H1B 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,” said Dale Wilcox, Director of Immigration Reform Law Institute, a unit of FAIR, in a statement.
“There is no shortage of Americans who have technical skills or are currently acquiring them in US schools. The H1B visa program should not be exploited for business objectives while many qualified Americans are struggling to find employment.”
It is no secret that top US technology companies, including Google and Facebook, employ H1B visa holders, as there is a severe shortage in skilled tech talent in the country. Furthermore, studies have found that one new job in the technology sector creates half a dozen jobs in other sectors.
Yet the critics of the visa program are not convinced, and it continues to hit the headlines repeatedly.