White House says U.S. needs H-1B visas to avoid 'competitive disadvantage'
Obama administration defends H-1B rule in lawsuit challenging 2008 Bush ruling on visas
Computerworld - President Barack Obama has so far reversed a number of actions taken by President George W. Bush -- on embryonic stem cell research, species protection and medical research -- but his administration has so far shown no interest in reversing a Bush-approved rule that has drawn the ire of H-1B opponents.
The Bush administration's move to increase the amount of time foreign nationals with engineering, science and other technical degrees can work in the U.S. on student visas from one year to 29 months prompted a lawsuit that was filed last May by the Programmers Guild, the American Engineering Association Inc., Bright Future Jobs, and a number of technology workers.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., argued that the ruling was in fact a backdoor increase in the cap on H-1B visas. The lower court rejected the case, which the group is now appealing before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
In a filing with the appeals court late last month, the Obama administration offered a defense of the H-1B visa program while repeating many of the same arguments used by the Bush administration in defending the ruling in the initial case. "The inability of U.S. employers, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to obtain H-1B status for highly skilled foreign students and foreign nonimmigrant workers has adversely affected the ability of U.S employers to recruit and retain skilled worker and creates a competitive disadvantage for U.S. companies," the government argued.
The filing is the first public statement by the Obama administration about the controversial H-1B visa program. "All we have seen from Obama about looking out for the interest of U.S. workers is talk -- [we're] still waiting for the change," said John Miano, founder of the Summit, N.J.-based Programmers Guild.
The Programmers Guild lawsuit contends that the student visa extension would exacerbate problems already created by the H-1B visa for U.S. workers in the science, technical and engineering fields -- including job losses and wage pressures through "a rule that creates more direct competitors for them by increasing the number of foreign workers" competing for jobs.
New Jersey U.S. District Court Judge Faith Hochberg, who heard the initial case, did not rule on the merits of the H-1B program, but instead argued that the opponents of the Bush action couldn't legally challenge the case because they weren't directly affected by the rule change. Oral arguments on the appeal may be heard as early as May.
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is arguing the case for the U.S. The new secretary of the DHS, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, has been a supporter of the H-1B visa.
- U.S. Senator blasts Microsoft's H-1B push as it lays off 18,000 workers
- Court case offers a peek at how H-1B-fueled discrimination works
- Obama has big options for green card, H-1B reform without Congress
- An H-1B whistleblower tries again for justice
- If immigration reform is dead, so is raising the H-1B cap
- Many comments on new H-1B rule, but few are 'unique'
- Readers rant about IT worker who trained H1-B replacement
- Cantor, a reliable 'yes' vote for raising the H-1B visa cap, is unseated
- This IT worker had to train an H-1B replacement
- An H-1B cap hike would mean a grim future for workers
Read more about IT Careers in Computerworld's IT Careers Topic Center.
- 2014 IT Workplace Trends and Salary Guide Staying competitive in the IT market can be challenging. This guide provides you with insight into variety of IT workplace trends including, U.S....
- Improving IT Efficiencies: Four Advantages of Multi-Tenant Data Centers Increasing demands on IT are forcing organizations to rethink their data center options. For many organizations, that means turning to the flexibility afforded...
- Accelerating Cloud Deployment and Operations with Managed Services Companies that do not have sufficient in-house expertise to either deploy or maintain an IaaS cloud should turn to Managed Service Providers .
- Rethinking IT Operations in the Cloud This paper breaks down the challenges that often prevent the cloud from delivering the fast, flexible and affordable infrastructure companies seek - and...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All IT Careers White Papers | Webcasts
Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.