On May 24, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a response to a recent bipartisan inquiry led by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s chairman, Chuck Grassley, concerning the possible misuse and abuse of the H-1B visa program. In his March 29, 2017 letter to USCIS, Senator Grassley insisted that USCIS address the increasing layoffs of American workers and their replacements with “cheaper foreign labor” through the H-1B visa program—as highlighted in a recent episode of a television news show.
In response, USCIS Acting Director James McCament reiterated that USCIS is committed to addressing H-1B abuses through continued investigation, potential new regulations, and internal agency changes. McCament also noted that USCIS “continues to review all policies related to the H-1B program and is planning to publish an updated H-1B guidance section to the USCIS Policy Manual.” The agency expressed its interest in continued work with the Senate Judiciary Committee to increase oversight of the H-1B program.
USCIS’s response provides some insight into USCIS’s plan of action since President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April of 2017 encouraging U.S. companies to “Buy American and Hire American” and calling for “strict enforcement” of labor laws for workers coming to the U.S.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the implementation of President Trump’s executive orders regarding immigration and post updates as additional guidance becomes available.