American workers who lost their jobs to foreign replacements are suing the federal government over a new rule that will allow more foreign workers into the job market.
In a stated effort to encourage guest workers to stick around permanently, the Department of Homeland Security will now grant their spouses work permits in addition to visas. DHS estimates more than 100,000 spouses will be eligible to apply when it begins accepting applications May 26.
The complaint, filed by the Immigration Reform Law Institute on behalf of the displaced workers, alleges DHS does not have the authority to make the rule, and that the rule violates federal labor protection law. IRLI is asking the judge to halt implementation of the rule until the case is heard.
“The larger implication is that Obama is arguing he has the executive authority to allow anyone to work in the United States,” John Miano, the attorney for the displaced workers, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “[He] started with the children, then the parents, and now the spouses of H-1B workers.”
An update to the federal register indicates the Obama administration is also looking at expansions to other visa programs, he said. “If the president can let illegal aliens work, he can let anyone work and he’s doing it.”
The workers are former employees of tech giant Southern California Edison, which was recently investigated for firing hundreds of American workers after forcing them to train their foreign replacements. (RELATED: Senators Ask Feds to Investigate Guest Worker Visa Abuse)
The biggest challenge will be convincing a judge the workers he represents have legal standing to bring the case, Miano told TheDCNF.
He’ll argue the rule is relevant to the displaced workers because it will result in more competition in their job market. The government will counter that the workers can’t prove the rule will affect their future job prospects.
If the judge agrees to hear the case, Miano will then make the case that DHS overstepped the bounds of its authority and that the rule violates labor protection law.
“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,” IRLI Executive Director Dale Wilcox said in a statement. (RELATED: This Is What Happened To Wages As The Immigrant Population Tripled)