Presidents’ Alliance Statement: Higher Education Prevails Against Federal Government Over Unlawful H1-B Regulations

Judge issues summary judgment; prevents efforts to undermine H-1B program

December 2, 2020
Contact: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, D.C.—Yesterday,  U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued a partial summary judgment against the federal government, setting aside two H-1B visa regulations that would have fundamentally undermined the specialty occupation program.  The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration had joined with a coalition of business organizations and higher education institutions and, represented by Paul Hughes of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, to file a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s interim final rule and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s interim final rule.  The promulgation of these rules would have significantly and adversely impacted the ability of higher education institutions to sponsor international researchers, staff, and faculty–all of whom serve critical roles on our members’ campuses.  

You can view our complaint here.

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, stated: “This is an important victory, not only for higher education, but for the American economy. In his ruling, Judge White affirmed what we knew to be true: the administration violated the APA’s notice and comment requirements, procedurally short-circuiting the congressionally mandated public comment period, all the more serious because doing so would have cut off an important pipeline of talent, innovation and knowledge. 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, would have made us far less competitive. We are relieved and grateful for the district court’s action.”

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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.