Mother Jones: How I Tracked an Explosion in Lawsuits Against Trump’s Immigration Policies Changes to the H-1B program have sparked unprecedented legal challenges

After searching for H-1B-related lawsuits on PACER, the online repository of federal court records, I looked on Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and Westlaw and worked with librarians at UC Berkeley Law Library and San Francisco Law Library. Cornell University Law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr and law student Hun Lee, who were also collecting H-1B-related lawsuits, shared cases with me, and vice versa.

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting: Trump Has Built a Wall of Bureaucracy to Keep Out the Very Immigrants He Says He Wants

…Samir, who asked not to use his real name because he fears his future visas may be denied, is one of thousands of H-1B holders who have found that the Trump administration has upended the once-predictable rules for who gets (and keeps) these coveted visas, which are a major source of high-skilled immigrants, particularly from India. Even as President Donald Trump has complained about rules that prevent American companies “from retaining highly skilled and… totally brilliant people” from abroad, his administration has made sweeping changes to the H-1B program, denying visas to skilled immigrants, some who have been working in the United States for years. USCIS has been denying H-1B petitions at a record rate: 24 percent of first-time H-1B applications were denied through the third quarter of 2019 fiscal year, compared with 6 percent in 2015. In the 2015 fiscal year, only 3 percent of H-1B transfers and extensions like Samir’s were denied. In 2019, 12 percent were. In total, about 50,000 people were denied H-1B visas in the past year….

…When Trump signed the executive order, Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University, thought the administration would implement its proposed changes through the usual rulemaking process. “I guess I was naive, because instead of doing that, they simply reinterpreted the existing regulations more narrowly,” he says….

…Cornell’s Yale-Loehr agrees that the administration is trying to shut the door on more immigrants: “They’re claiming that they want to go toward merit-based immigration, but it doesn’t seem that they’re actually trying to welcome more high-skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States. We see an assault on legal immigration just as vociferously as we’ve seen the assault on illegal immigration. It’s really Make America White Again.”