DHS Accused of Giving Tech Jobs to Guests

     (CN) – A recent Homeland Security regulation may replace American workers with the spouses of foreign workers in the country with H-4 visas, a group of former computer workers claim in court.
     Save Jobs USA, a group made up of former Southern California Edison computer workers who were replaced by foreign workers on H-1B guest-worker visas, filed suit in D.C. Federal Court against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
     According to the lawsuit, DHS implemented the “Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses” recently, which grants work authorization to certain spouses of foreign workers in the U.S. on H-4 visas.
     “The H-4 Rule extends employment authorization to an alien possessing an H-4 visa who is the spouse of an H-1B alien who is the principal beneficiary of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or has been granted H-1B status extending beyond the normal 6-year term,” the complaint states.
     As many as 179,600 new foreign workers will be added to the U.S. workforce in the first year of the rule, DHS says, with 55,000 added annually in the following years.
     “The H-4 Rule is in excess of DHS authority and directly contradicts several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” the lawsuit says.
     The complaint details the struggles of Save Jobs USA member Brian Buchanan to find work after he was displaced by Edison with a H-1B worker supplied to the California energy provider by India-based Tata Consultancy Services. Tata Consultancy is the largest IT provider in India.
     Buchanan, an IT specialist, says he was forced to train his H-1B replacement to perform his job after he was told he would be replaced.
     “If Mr. Buchanan had not trained his replacement he would have been denied a severance package and could have been terminated with cause, making him ineligible for unemployment benefits,” the complaint states. Buchanan claims he now faces competition from H-1B Workers and soon H-4 visa holders to find a new job in the computer job market.
     “This is a slap in the face to the tens of millions of Americans suffering from unemployment and underemployment, especially those who are most vulnerable such as students, seniors, single mothers and minorities,” said Dale L. Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is representing Save Jobs USA. “The law states that foreign work permits cannot adversely affect American wages, but all we’ve seen during this administration is standards of living fall and outsized corporate profits continue to rise.”
     Save Jobs USA seeks to stop DHS from authorizing spouses with an H-4 visa to work.
     Southern California Edison’s alleged replacement of American workers with workers from India has been subject to criticism, including a bipartisan letter written by 10 U.S. senators asking the Labor Department to investigate into the legality of its actions.
     Solicitor General M. Patricia Smith says in a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, that the agency “lacks a basis to initiate an investigation,” because the wage and hour division had not received a complaint. She referred the matter to the Office of Special Counsel.
     “We will continue pressing the administration to use its legal authority to stop the displacement of American workers wherever possible and to conduct a thorough investigation of responsible parties,” Durbin and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in a statement.
     Southern California Edison denied that it was acting unlawfully, though, claiming that it is “transitioning some IT operations to external vendors.”
     The Office of General Counsel could not be reached for comment.

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