(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed an opening brief (attached here) on behalf of displaced American workers in an appeal of the dismissal of their lawsuit challenging a new Obama Administration regulation that makes spouses of so-called “high-tech” H-1B guest-workers eligible for work permits, adding (in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) own estimates) 179,600 additional workers to the American labor market in the first year and a further 55,000 every year going forward. The lower court dismissed the case in September for lack of standing to sue, ruling that the displaced American workers did not demonstrate an imminent or actual injury from being forced to compete with the aliens.
IRLI’s client, Save Jobs USA, is made up of former employees of Southern California Edison, a publicly-traded corporate utility that drew criticism from bipartisan legislators in Congress when it displaced 500 of its American employees after forcing them to train their cheaper foreign replacements. The case, Save Jobs USA v. USDHS (No. 16-5287) (D.C. Circuit), could have major implications for users of H-1B visas, such as the trillion-dollar tech industry, as the regulation was specifically promulgated to attract and retain H-1B guest-workers.
In its brief, IRLI argued that the lower court erred because under the D.C. Circuit’s “competitor standing doctrine,” a plaintiff need merely show that the challenged government action allows more competition. Under the lower court’s improper interpretation of that standard, a plaintiff must prove that an alien is actually competing with him or her in a narrow job market, a standard that rarely ever could be met because aliens under the new regulation are not required to report their place of employment to the government (unlike their H-1B guest-worker spouses). The new regulation allows H-1B spouses to work in any job in the U.S. labor market, thus opening up competition with all American workers.
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, commented, “The D.C. Circuit has recognized the competitor standing doctrine for over four decades, yet the district court dismissed our case based on a new, impossible standard.” Wilcox continued, “We expect the D.C. Circuit will rectify this wrong and reinstate our case challenging this job-stealing regulation.”