Trump’s Immigration Proclamation Faces Legal Challenges

President Trump’s 22 June immigration proclamation is experiencing legal pushback.

The Trump administration is currently grappling with legal pushback regarding its recent immigration directives. Following the June immigration proclamation that halts the issuance of new non-immigrant and immigrant visas, including H-1B, L-1, H-2B and J-1 temporary visas, President Trump on 6 July directed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to prohibit foreign students from entering or remaining in the country to take fully online course loads, which was later rescinded. The administration also faces a major lawsuit on behalf of H-1B and H-4 visa holders and their spouses and children.

Before an agreement was reached to rescind the policy on 14 July, the directive to prohibit foreign students on F-1 visas from entering or remaining in the country to take fully online course loads led to a lawsuit from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as number of additional universities.

Another lawsuit aims to help H-1B and H-4 visa holders and their spouses and children affected by Trump’s 22 June immigration proclamation. Immigration litigation firm Wasden Banias filed a suit on behalf of 174 Indian nationals including 7 minor children. It requests that the Department of State issue decisions on pending H-1B and H-4 visa requests and to declare the immigration proclamation unlawful.

According to analysis by Forbes, the suit points out existing rules specified by Congress regarding H-1B visa holders that help protect U.S. workers. These include the requirement that an employer “pay an H-1B visa holder the higher of the actual or prevailing wage the employer pays similar employees” and “to post a notice when an H-1B professional is at a worksite and commits to other obligations,” according to the plaintiffs.

The suit also considers the suspension of the entry of foreign nationals returning to the U.S. to resume employment under approved H-1B petitions as an effort that is beyond legal authority, citing multiple violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. This lawsuit comes as many other entities, such as the Chamber of Commerce, are considering whether to file suits against the proclamation.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT was just one major move of what is likely to be more lawsuits challenging the immigration proclamation. Should the Wasden Banias lawsuit successfully narrow the scope of the proclamation, it would help many professionals under the H-1B and H-4 visas to enter the United States where current country travel bans do not exist. Such a move would be a positive step towards ensuring workforce mobility in a time of needed economic recovery in the U.S. Should any member have questions regarding these legal actions, please reach out to Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, ​