Editor’s note: This sponsored commentary is provided by Kuck Baxter Immigration and is published through its annual sponsorship of Global Atlanta.
Some Americans feel stressed that the presidential election has taken so long to play out. But for many future Americans awaiting legal entry into the United States, the wait carries more dire implications, even as its results have become clear.
These would-be permanent residents literally cannot wait for Joseph R. Biden is sworn in as president to have their pending cases heard.
Their families and their employers need relief now, so hundreds of them are suing the Trump administration with the help of my firm and our partners.
In cooperation with Joseph & Hall PC in Aurora, Colo., and Siskind Susser PC in Memphis, Tenn., we filed a federal lawsuit on Nov. 9 against Pres. Donald Trump, Secretary Michael Pompeo and the U.S. Department of State.
Together, we represent more than 245 immigration applicant plaintiffs seeking immediate relief from the Presidential Proclamation of June 22, 2020.
The proclamation, issued by Mr. Trump under the premise of protecting U.S. jobs, prevents certain non-immigrant foreign workers from entering the U.S. until after Dec. 31.
These include highly skilled foreign workers with H-1B and L-1 visas, H-2B temporary seasonal workers and certain J-1 exchange visitors. The ban on entry applies to any foreign national who was outside the United States when the proclamation went into effect on June 24 and does not have a valid non-immigrant visa that permits their legal entry.
We expect the Trump administration to extend this “visa ban” when it expires on Dec. 30. Even if President-elect Biden lifts the ban when inaugurated in January, it will take many months for these applicants’ cases to get back on track. The plaintiffs are seeking a court order to resume their cases immediately.
The destruction wrought by this proclamation and its illegal interpretation by the State Department in not issuing visas despite several courts telling the agency to do so, must stop now. It has caused extraordinary hardship for these future permanent residents of the United States, many of whose cases have been languishing for months.
It has also caused hardship for the industries wishing to employ these immigrants. The proclamation calls on the Department of Labor to make obtaining employment-based visas more difficult and to conduct intensive investigations on employers who seek these visas. It also instructs the Department of Homeland Security to make it harder to obtain H-1B visas for temporary workers.
The president’s proclamation seeks to block immigrants based on an incorrect assumption that immigration hurts American workers. This rationale is both nonsensical and illegal, as economists agree that immigration actually bolsters the U.S. economy and is an engine for job growth. Plus, the plaintiffs in this case have already qualified for their visas and are lawfully entitled entry into the country.
[pullquote]America has been a nation of immigrants before, during and after Trump. [/pullquote]
My fellow attorney, Jeff Joseph, notes that these plaintiffs have followed the rules, paid their filing fees and waited in line to legally immigrate to the United States, but they are barred because the government claims they are stealing “American” jobs. As Mr. Joseph says, “They are not replacing ‘Americans’ because they are intending [to be] ‘Americans,'” and they’re being prevented from being with their loved ones only because the government refuses them a stamp.
The 245 plaintiffs in this case all have approved family, employment or diversity immigrant visas, and some have even gone through the labor-certification process demonstrating that there are no qualified, willing and able U.S. workers to perform their jobs.
The administration’s argument that the president has the authority to suspend U.S. immigration law over economic concerns is also unconstitutional. The Immigration and Nationality Act, gives Congress, not the president, the power to regulate immigration.
The ban is prima facie illegal, and enough is enough. America has been a nation of immigrants before, during and after Trump.
The attorneys representing the plaintiffs are myself, Danielle Claffey and Phillip Kuck of Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC in Atlanta; Gregory Siskind of Siskind Susser PC in Memphis; and Mr. Joseph, Aaron Hall and Jennifer Howard of Joseph & Hall PC in Aurora.