Scripps College joined 16 other colleges and organizations in filing a lawsuit Oct. 19 against the U.S. Department of Labor for the federal government’s changes to H-1B visa rules, which make it more difficult for American companies to hire foreign workers.
The Trump administration made several sweeping changes to the H-1B visa program Oct. 6, creating stricter rules for who is eligible for the visa, raising minimum wage requirements for foreign workers and shortening the length of visas for those workers.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The lawsuit specifically targets the H-1B wage rule implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The rule, according to its official summary, aims to “effectively ensure” that employees employed on H-1B visas would “not adversely affect the wages and job opportunities of U.S. workers.”
However, Scripps opposed the rule and said it would negatively affect the college’s employees as well as some Scripps students entering the workforce.
“The proposed rule would adversely impact Scripps College’s mission by curtailing our ability to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff and student population,” Scripps spokesperson Rachael Warecki said via email. “Furthermore, the changes to the program would limit the post-graduate prospects of Scripps College international students and diminish Scripps graduates’ contributions to a high-quality workforce and strong national economy.”
The lawsuit alleges that the changes to the H-1B visa requirements were improperly issued and did not comply with the procedures for rulemaking.
The new rule relies on “insufficient and incorrect information, makes incorrect calculations, and rests on irrational, arbitrary and capricious assumptions of the labor market,” the lawsuit said.
Scripps signed onto the lawsuit along with Purdue University, University of Michigan, Chapman University, Arizona State University, Dentists for America and other organizations.
The plaintiffs of the lawsuit include employers that rely on the highly skilled labor that come into the country via H-1B visa, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dentists and other healthcare workers, many of which are recognized shortage occupations. The new rules could affect the ability of the plaintiffs to pay the salaries of those H-1B workers, the lawsuit said.
Jaimie Ding SC ’21 is from Vancouver, Washington.