District Judge rules in favor of the DHS.
By Sujeet Rajan
NEW YORK: Washington, DC District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan dismissed the civil complaint filed by Save Jobs USA (SJUSA), comprising of a group of displaced Southern California Edison IT workers, against the Department of Homeland Security, to not issue work permits to H-4 visa holders as it would impact their chances of getting hired in an increasingly competitive job market, on May 24th.
The plea by SJUSA was the last hurdle for some eligible H-4 visa holders, to begin applying for work permits, starting May 26. According to the DHS, as many as 179,600 H-4 visa holders would be eligible to receive work permits this year, and 55,000 for each subsequent year.
H-4 visa holders can also be thankful that their cause of getting work permits was not tagged along with the other executive actions by president Barack Obama, on deferring deportations and issuing work permits to illegal immigrants, which has now come to a standstill after a ruling in Texas, on Tuesday.
The fate of those work permits to illegal immigrants, which would have benefited more than four million individuals, is now likely to drag on in higher courts and most likely the burden to resolve that issue will fall on the next president who occupies the White House, in January, 2017.
In her ruling, Judge Chutkan said SJUSA, who claimed they were displaced by H-1B workers employed by Tata Consultancy Services, could not prove that issuing work permits to H-4 visa holders – who are spouses of H-1B workers – would cause “irreparable harm” and that the subsequent (job-wise) “injury is certain, great and actual – not theoretical – and imminent, creating a clear and present need for extraordinary equitable relief to prevent harm.” SJUSA could not prove that they needed “emergency relief”, Chutkan noted.
Chutkan also pointed out that there is no certainty – though it could be the case in the future – that H-4 visa holders would only apply for IT related jobs. They were free to work in any field, and choose not to work, despite applying for a work permits, she pointed out.
Read earlier story by The American Bazaar:
SJUSA could also not prove that the rule to issue work permits to their spouses would incentivize H-1B visa holders to stay on in the US, and would also not cause more H-1B workers to flood the market, as the petition claimed, Chutkan ruled. The reason being that there are only a limited number of H-1B visas issued every year – 85,000 at present – and the work permits are only being issued to those H-4 via holders who have shown purpose, though the length of their stay and approved status to become permanent residents.
SJUSA could not prove that “harm is imminent”, ruled Chutkan. The work permits to H-4 visa holders would take around three months to be issued, only it is applied for, and then those who receive it would take more months to look for a job and get hired. That would not impact SJUSA members from looking for jobs in the near future, she ruled.
“DHS offers numerous arguments why Save Jobs would not succeed on the merits, most notably on standing grounds, and Save Jobs has responded with non-frivolous arguments why its claims might prevail. At this early stage, the court is not convinced either party’s arguments significantly outweigh the other such that it would have made a critical difference in the preliminary injunction analysis,” ruled Chutkan, adding, “whether American workers and the U.S. economy are better served with more or fewer foreign workers is a policy question the court need not answer.”