IRLI to Argue in Federal Court on Behalf of American Workers Harmed by Unlawful Guestworker Program

Press Releases

May 3, 2016

Making Government Put American Workers Before Big Business

May 03, 2016

(Washington, D.C.) – On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) attorney John Miano, a nationally renowned expert on the effect of foreign labor on American workers, will argue in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a case challenging a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule that unlawfully permits non-student foreign labor to compete with American workers for jobs (Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. DHS, Civil Action No. 15-5239). In the case, IRLI represents the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, Local 37083 of the Communications Workers of American, AFL-CIO (Washtech), a labor union that represents American technology workers located throughout the United States. The case is scheduled to be heard at 9:30 A.M. in Courtroom 31 before Circuit Judges Kavanaugh, Millett, and Wilkins.

In August 2015, a federal district court struck down an expansion of DHS’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, finding that DHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it bypassed the APA-mandated public notice and comment process. Although victorious on this claim, IRLI is appealing the district court’s erroneous ruling that the term “student” as used in the immigration code in reference to student visas and work permits is ambiguous and can mean a person not attending school, as DHS claims. IRLI is also appealing the district court’s earlier finding that Washtech only had standing to challenge the OPT rule expansion relating to STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) workers and not the entire OPT program.

Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, commented, “DHS’s OPT program was designed to circumvent the American labor protections established in law at the request of big business desirous of cheap labor. We will argue before the D.C. Circuit that Washtech had standing to challenge the OPT program as a whole and DHS exceeded its statutory authority by crafting this unlawful guestworker program.” Wilcox continued, “The importance of this appeal cannot be overstated as the jobs of millions of American college graduates and workers still remain at risk as the Obama Administration has recently revived the job-stealing rule that IRLI successfully challenged last year. IRLI will continue the fight in court on Wednesday for the American worker and hold the Obama Administration accountable to the rule of law.”

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