Trump’s Visa Ban Crippling US Economy Argues Leading Tech Giants

U.S. is retreating from the global war for talent with its politically motivated visa rules. Legal action underway by Attorneys General with support of nation’s largest tech companies

By Suzanne Monyak in Law360.com on August 10, 2020


Dozens of states and technology giants, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., have backed lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump’s recent visa suspensions, arguing the president’s orders will hinder the U.S.’ economic recovery.

In friend-of-the-court briefs filed Monday, a group of more than 50 top businesses urged federal judges in California and Washington, D.C., to put the brakes on Trump’s June order barring thousands of foreign citizens from moving to the U.S. on new work visas through the end of 2020.

While Trump has claimed that the visa restrictions will free up more jobs for U.S. citizens who lost work during the coronavirus pandemic, the businesses, which also include tech companies such as Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Intel Corp., PayPal Inc. and Twitter Inc., argued the orders will have the opposite effect.

The June visa proclamation, which targets H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, H-2B guest-worker visas, J trainee visas and L intracompany transferee visas, hurts American interests “by stifling the ability of U.S. businesses to attract the world’s best talent, drive innovation, and further American economic prosperity,” the businesses argued Monday.

“Global competitors in Canada, China, and India, among others, are pouncing at the opportunity to attract well-trained, innovative individuals.”

FROM FRIEND-OF-THE-COURT BRIEF FILED BY US TECH GIANTS

“Already global competitors in Canada, China, and India, among others, are pouncing at the opportunity to attract well-trained, innovative individuals,” the companies said. “And American businesses are scrambling to adjust, hiring needed talent to work in locations outside our nation’s borders.”

Their briefs came just days after a coalition of nearly two dozen attorneys general, led by the attorneys general of New York and California, similarly warned in a Friday amicus brief that economic fallout could result from Trump’s orders barring visas, challenging both the work visa suspension as well as his April proclamation targeting certain foreign citizens seeking green cards.

“President Trump might like to think he’s a businessman, but he clearly doesn’t understand how the economy works,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a Monday statement.

The amicus briefs were filed in a number of lawsuits challenging the visa suspensions filed by visa hopefuls, their employers and relatives, as well as by businesses and trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.

The proclamations have drawn severe backlash from both immigrant advocates and the business community, who say the restrictions undermine the U.S.’ global standing and make it difficult for U.S. companies to recruit talent for specialized roles.

The green card restrictions also bar Americans from sponsoring certain family members, including spouses of permanent residents and U.S. citizens’ elderly parents.

Four legal challenges brought on behalf of foreigners who won coveted green cards in the diversity visa lottery, but who have been blocked from moving to the U.S. under the restrictions, were combined Friday and consolidated within litigation brought by the American Immigration Lawyers Association that challenges all aspects of the visa bans.

A White House spokesperson did not return a request for comment Monday.

The individuals and organizations in AILA’s lawsuit in D.C. federal court are represented by Andrew J. Pincus, Matthew D. Ingber and Cleland B. Welton II of Mayer Brown LLP; Jesse M. Bless of AILA, Karen C. Tumlin and Esther H. Sung of the Justice Action Center; and Stephen Manning, Nadia Dahab and Tess Hellgren of the Innovation Law Lab.

The Chamber of Commerce and other business associations in California federal court are represented by Paul W. Hughes, Michael B. Kimberly and William G. Gaede III of McDermott Will & Emery.

The businesses in the Monday amicus brief are represented by Theodore B. Olson, Stuart F. Delery, David A. Schnitze, Ethan D. Dettmer and Jonathan N. Soleimani of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

The state coalition in the Friday amicus brief is represented by the states’ attorneys general.

The cases are National Association of Manufacturers et al. v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al., case number 4:20-cv-04887, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and Gomez et al. v. Trump et al., case number 1:20-cv-01419, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.