We're undergoing maintenance. Some site features are not accessible.

NRF files suit against administration's restrictions on visas

"This proclamation is meant to protect American jobs but instead it threatens the millions of rank-and-file workers whose jobs rely on experts coming up with the latest technology to keep retail moving forward."

NRF General Counsel Stephanie Martz

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation and several prominent business organizations including the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, TechNet and Intrax filed a lawsuit in federal court today opposing President Trump’s proclamation suspending new nonimmigrant visas.

“Innovation is absolutely key to surviving the economic crisis currently facing our nation, especially for retailers who’ve seen their stores forced to close and scrambled to find new ways to sell and deliver products,” NRF Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Stephanie Martz said. “This proclamation is meant to protect American jobs but instead it threatens the millions of rank-and-file workers whose jobs rely on experts coming up with the latest technology to keep retail moving forward. Advanced computer and IT jobs are already hard to fill, and retailers need to be able to bring in talent from wherever they can find it. This sweeping measure could have a significant negative impact on their ability to do that.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and claims that the proclamation goes beyond Trump’s authority, is inconsistent with federal law on labor market protections in connection with nonimmigrant visas, is not “rationally related” to its stated purpose of addressing a temporary spike in unemployment, and violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act. The suit seeks an injunction prohibiting the proclamation from being carried out and asks that the proclamation be set aside.

Signed on June 22, the proclamation affects a number of visas, including H1-B visas for highly skilled workers, H-4 visas for their spouses, H2-B guest worker visas, L visas companies use to bring international workers to the United States and most “cultural exchange” J visas.

“These overreaching, unlawful restrictions don’t just limit visas — they will restrain our economic recovery at a time when the very future of our country hangs in the balance. Manufacturers and program sponsors are going to court because these restrictions are far outside the bounds of the law and would deal a severe blow to our industry. We cannot let this stand,” NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly said. “Our industry should be laser-focused on leading our recovery and renewal, but these visa restrictions will hand other countries a competitive advantage because they will drive talented individuals away from the United States. These restrictions could harm every corner of our economy, as evidenced by the broad coalition that has come together to oppose them.”

“Our lawsuit seeks to overturn these sweeping and unlawful immigration restrictions that are an unequivocal ‘not welcome’ sign to the engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other critical workers who help drive the American economy,” Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue said. “Left in place, these restrictions will push investment abroad, inhibit economic growth and reduce job creation.”

“TechNet is proud to join the NAM, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NRF and Intrax in standing up for American companies’ ability to serve our nation during a global pandemic,” TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore said. “TechNet spoke out when the administration announced its visa restrictions, and today, we reiterate that banning categories of innovators only hinders tech’s ability to serve our country by providing essential groceries and food delivery, collaborating with co-workers, having safe medical visits using telehealth solutions and helping millions stay connected. This litigation is a necessary step toward maintaining our nation’s ability to compete in the global economy and provide Americans the help they need during this uncertain time and in the future.”

“The Exchange Visitor Program enhances U.S. national security by building mutual understanding that helps us address critical international issues, while strengthening the U.S. economy,” Intrax President Marcie Schneider said. “J-1 cultural exchange programs contribute more than $1.4 billion to the American economy each year. One out of three world leaders has participated in a cultural exchange program in the U.S. These overreaching restrictions will sharply curtail cultural exchange programs at just the time when we should be increasing connections between people around the world.”

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.