Labor pool will increase, impact American wages, claims lawsuit.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: About a month after Southern California Edison replaced hundreds of its employees with H-1B workers from India, those who were displaced are suing president Barack Obama’s administration over the recent immigration reform that plan to grant work permits to eligible spouses of H-1B holders, those who are on H-4 visas.
According to Breitbart, the Immigration Reform Law Institute filed a lawsuit in D.C. District Court last week against the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of Save Jobs USA — a group that is comprised specifically of former Edison employees who lost their positions to H-1B visa holders.
In February the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it would begin accepting applications from dependant spouses of H-1B visa holders, who were previously disallowed from obtaining work permits. The process, which will begin on May 26, is expected to garner as many as 179,600 applications within the first year and 55,000 per year subsequently, USCIS explained during its announcement earlier in the year.
The Immigration Reform Law Institute is now claiming the work permits to H-4 visa holders, the planned immigration action by the Department of Homeland Security negatively impacts the former Edison workers because not only does it benefit their direct H-1B visa competitors, by allowing to stay on in the country longer, it also increases the labor pool in the country by supplementing it with new H-4 visa holders.
“The law states that foreign work permits cannot adversely affect American wages, but all we’ve seen during this administration is standards of living fall and outsized corporate profits continue to rise,” Dale Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director, said in a statement. “We will continue the fight on behalf of the American worker and hold this administration accountable to the rule of law.”
The announcement of the lawsuit came hot on the heels of news that the U.S. Labor Department will not be investigating allegations that Southern California Edison abused the H-1B program.
A top Labor official said an investigation could not be opened because there was no complaint from someone adversely affected by the use of the H-1B visas and no reasonable cause to believe the company violated the rules governing the visas, reported the Los Angeles Times. The request for an inquiry by the Labor Department was submitted via a bi-partisan conglomerate of 10 senators.
The Labor Department “has not received a complaint from an aggrieved party or a credible source, and other avenues for investigation are not appropriate at this time,” M. Patricia Smith, the department’s solicitor, wrote in a letter addressed to the senators and dated last Tuesday.
Many Edison workers were angered that they were forced to train their replacements under the threat of losing their severance package and eligibility for unemployment insurance.
Ron Hira, co-author of the book “Outsourcing America” and writing for The Hill’s congressional blog, disclosed most of the incoming H-1B workers were employed by the two leading India-based outsourcing firms, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.