WASHINGTON (CN) – The spouses of guest workers with H-4 visas may apply for jobs in the United States, after a federal judge declined to stop the new policy.
Save Jobs USA, a group made up of former Southern California Edison computer workers replaced by foreign workers with H-1B visas, filed suit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in April seeking to stop the regulation.
The group alleged it is already difficult for its members to find work after they were replaced with H-1B workers, and that the new policy will further increase competition for jobs.
U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan found in a memorandum opinion filed Sunday that Save Jobs USA failed to prove that its members would suffer injuries under the policy.
“There is no indication, and Save Jobs has not provided any evidence, that it is certain that H-4 visa holders will apply for IT jobs and compete with Save Jobs members,” Chutkan wrote. “Save Jobs is correct that this could happen, and eventually it may in fact happen. But at this stage, it is entirely speculative whether any H-4 visa holders will ever apply for IT jobs at SCE, IT jobs in California (where the members of Save Jobs reside), or IT jobs at all.”
According to DHS, nearly 180,000 new foreign workers may be added to the U.S. workforce in the first year of the rule with as many as 55,000 jobs added annually thereafter.
“Save Jobs does not explain how many IT jobs may be taken by H-4 visa holders, how many of those jobs its members may have sought themselves, what pay or benefits its members risk losing while the case is pending, or what other harm its members may face,” Chutkan wrote. “The court is left to speculate as to the magnitude of the injury, and speculation is not enough to turn economic loss into irreparable harm.”
A bipartisan letter written by 10 U.S. senators called for the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate Southern California Edison’s alleged replacement of American employees with H-1B visa holders. Solicitor General M. Patricia Smith declined to investigate, citing a “lack of basis.”
“At this point, Save Jobs has provided no evidence that any H-1B visa holder has or will stay in the United States as a result of the rule,” Chutkan found. “There is also no evidence that the rule will lead to an increase in the number of H-1B visa holders seeking permanent residence and competing with Save Jobs’ members.”
Save Jobs attorney Dale L. Wilcox, of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, says public policy should “benefit Americans, not foreigners.”
“Our immigration laws are supposed to restrain corporations from manipulating the labor market in order to collapse wages and displace American workers,” Wilcox said in a statement.
Chutkan’s ruling stated that both parties presented compelling arguments, and neither party’s arguments “significantly outweigh” the other.
“Whether American workers and the U.S. economy are better served with more or fewer foreign workers is a policy question the court need not answer,” Chutkan wrote.
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the ruling.
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