Big Business to Block H1-B Ban?

Press Releases

August 26, 2020

IRLI shows lobbyist studies fail to repeal law of supply and demand

WASHINGTON—Last night, U.S. Tech Workers, a nonprofit representing the interests of American technology workers, filed a friend-of-the-court brief, drafted by staff of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), in a case in which industry plaintiffs, led by the National Association of Manufacturers, are challenging President Trump’s suspension of the H1-B guestworker program, which has supplied foreign tech labor to industry for decades.

The plaintiffs claim that Trump’s ban does not achieve his stated purpose—protecting American tech jobs and wages at a time of high unemployment. Instead, they tout studies supposedly showing that allowing foreign tech workers to compete with American tech workers for technology jobs in America actually creates jobs for Americans. For this reason, the plaintiffs argue, the court should rule that Trump’s ban on the program during a time of high unemployment is irrational, and enjoin it.

As U.S. Tech Workers points out in its brief, however, these lobbyist-generated studies never explain how increasing the pool of tech labor by adding foreign workers does not lower the price of that labor, as the law of supply and demand would lead one to expect. Nor do they explain why many companies, including Disney, Southern California Edison, and the University of California, have fired their U.S. tech workers after forcing them to train their own H1-B replacements.

“It is clear why big business has gone to court to try to protect the H1-B program,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It increases the supply of tech labor and so allows companies to pay their employees less. For that very reason, though, Trump’s suspension of the program is an admirably rational measure that obviously will protect American jobs and wages in these economically turbulent times. We applaud the President’s independence in taking this step—which is squarely within his authority—and believe that this lawsuit based on smoke-and-mirrors studies is, on both the law and the facts, doomed.”

The case is National Association of Manufacturers v. DHS, No. 4:20-cv-04887 (N.D. Cal.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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