Presidents’ Alliance Files Lawsuit Against Federal Government Over Unlawful H-1B Regulations

Regulations would dramatically undermine H-1B program

October 20, 2020
Contact: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration joined with a coalition of business organizations and higher education institutions and, represented by Paul Hughes of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging: (a) the U.S. Department of Labor’s interim final rule, which makes unreasonable and arbitrary changes to the required minimum wage to employ H-1B workers; and (b) the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s interim final rule, which would revise the definitions and standards for “specialty occupation” as well as “employer-employee relationship,” limiting petition validity for third-party placements. The promulgation of these rules significantly and adversely impacts the ability of higher education institutions to sponsor international researchers, staff, and faculty–all of whom serve critical roles on campus.  

You can view our complaint here.

Our nation’s knowledge economy depends on diverse talent from around the world, including skilled researchers, scholars, students, and workers. Higher education institutions and businesses are competing with institutions from around the world for the best minds, and we need to ensure that our immigration rules enhance, rather than deter, our ability to compete. Not only do institutions need to be able to recruit and hire the right people, but we also need to ensure that those who might seek to come here continue to see opportunities and not capricious barriers. Unfortunately, these new rules, combined with other harmful policies from the administration, make us less competitive.

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, stated: “The Presidents’ Alliance challenged these interim final rules not only because the administration procedurally short-circuited congressionally mandated public comment requirements, but also because these rules are substantially unreasonable and would cut off an important pipeline of talent, innovation and knowledge. There’s no question that Congress needs to enact comprehensive immigration reform to address challenges in our immigration system, but these rules put us on the wrong path. They will lead to job losses and not job gains for our national economy. A robust, fair, and effective immigration system is paramount for our nation’s recruitment and retention of international students and scholars. Yet, these rules undermine higher education’s ability to welcome and train international top talent, conduct critical research, carry out teaching, and nurture innovation and academic discovery.”

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The non-partisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education. We work to advance just immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus level that are consistent with our heritage as a ‘nation of immigrants’ and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of approximately 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, representing over five million students in 42 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.