WASHINGTON (CN) - The Department of Homeland Security has tightened the screws on the H-1B visa process for specialty occupations, refusing and revoking far more applications, and scheduling 25,000 worksite inspections this year. But DHS has provided a "near vacuum of publicly available information" on how to comply with this "heightened scrutiny," and didn't even provide its "Compliance Review Worksheet" in a legally required request for comments on it, the American Immigration Lawyers Association claims in Federal Court.
"The notice [in the Federal Register], which explained that the form would be used to record the results of on-site inspections of businesses, sought comments from the public. Yet the form itself was not attached to the notice or made available to the public for examination. Disclosure of this Compliance Review Worksheet has been sought by AILA and its nondisclosure forms part of the present FOIA dispute."
AILA has more than 11,000 members, attorneys and professors of immigration law.
The H-1B visa is for temporary foreign workers - "such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers-in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields."
As lawmakers publicly decry alleged abuses of immigration laws, the AILA says, DHS and its creature, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, refuse to release particulars of the laws and regulations that immigrants and employers allegedly are violating.
"The FOIA requests lodged by AILA seek to obtain records of particular importance in educating businesses, foreign workers, the bar, and the public at large concerning compliance with the H-1B rules, regulations, and associated law. This action concerns the failure of DHS and its component USCIS to release requested records under FOIA."
AILA is represented by Seth Watkins with Steptoe & Johnson.