Tech giants back lawsuit against US guest worker ban

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and other companies say the ban will ultimately harm the economy.

Alex Wong via Getty Images

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and 49 other tech companies are fighting against the administration’s guest worker visa ban. They’ve filed an amicus brief (PDF) supporting a lawsuit against acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the new rules, which suspend H-1B and other guest worker visas until the end of the year.

The administration suspended foreign workers’ entry back in June as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. In his announcement, the president said that granting worker visas “presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.” The move, he explained, was made so that unemployed Americans won’t have to compete with foreign workers for scarce jobs.

The companies that signed the amicus brief, however, disagree with the administration’s stance. They explained that suspending the country’s nonimmigrant visa programs “fundamentally disserves the interests of the United States by stifling the ability of US businesses to attract the world’s best talent, drive innovation, and further American economic prosperity.” The companies also said that they filed the brief to highlight how the guest worker ban can stifle innovation and “ultimately harm US workers, businesses and the economy more broadly in irreparable ways.”

Aside from Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, the signees also include Twitter, HP, Intel, Dropbox, Netflix, GitHub, PayPal, Reddit and Uber.

The tech industry has been backing various efforts to combat the administration’s visa bans over the past few months. In July, several tech giants, such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft joined a lawsuit that pushes back against a new rule that would force foreign students to leave the US if their colleges implemented online-only classes this fall. Their support for a lawsuit against the guest worker ban is far from unexpected, seeing as a lot of tech companies recruit overseas talent, and H-1B is usually their visa of choice.