Lofgren & Honda File Comment on DHS High-Skilled Employment Rule

February 11, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley) today submitted a regulatory comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking affecting high-skilled nonimmigrant workers, a centerpiece of the President's executive actions on employment-based immigration.

"Employment-based immigration programs, like so much of our immigration system, are broken. They are plagued by fundamental problems that only Congress can fix. Arbitrary, outdated visa quotas have trapped thousands of high-skilled immigrants – many of whom are at the forefront of business innovation and entrepreneurship – in immigration limbo for years or even decades. While Congress must act, the Administration should use this opportunity to restore integrity to labor market protections and support both U.S. and foreign born workers in the process.

"This proposed regulation includes several smart changes in accordance with current law to bring some measure of relief, flexibility, and clarity to high-skilled workers and their employers. However, we are disappointed this rule fails to grant employment authorization to nonimmigrant workers unless they meet an undefined, but undisputedly high, standard of ‘compelling circumstances.' Taking this step would free foreign high-skilled workers from being unnecessarily tethered to one employer and prevent wage suppression for foreign and American workers. Granting these high-skilled workers employment-authorization will allow them to take positions in the education sector, not-for-profits, or even start new businesses that create jobs for Americans.

"Expanding employment authorization is at the heart of the President's November 2014 directive requesting regulatory changes to help employment-based immigrants. The changes we recommend in this regulatory comment will better achieve that goal, grow our economy, and enrich our society."

The full comment can be viewed here.