AILA Public Statements, Press Releases, Advocacy & Media

Documents Released in H-1B FOIA Lawsuit Shed Light on the Trump Administration’s “Invisible Wall” Against Legal Immigration

9/18/19 AILA Doc. No. 19091832. Business Immigration, H-1B & H-1B1 Specialty Occupation
Belle Woods
Tessa Wiseman

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) publicly released documents that were produced by USCIS in response to two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. After the government failed to turn over documents in response to the requests, the American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit on behalf of AILA to compel the release of records concerning USCIS's adjudication of H-1B petitions. In particular, the FOIA lawsuit sought records from USCIS on how the wage level annotated on the Labor Condition Application (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, or Level 4) may impact the adjudication of petitions for H-1B classification and how USCIS determines whether a position is a "specialty occupation."

AILA President Marketa Lindt noted, "As an immigration practitioner representing U.S. businesses, I can tell you that U.S. employers have been experiencing a significant shift in the way USCIS is adjudicating H-1B petitions. The documents released by USCIS reveal the way the agency has shifted its focus in these adjudications, creating more obstacles for U.S. businesses to hire and retain the talent they need. Thanks to the tremendous litigation work done by the American Immigration Council, the government was forced to hand over documentation that sheds light on USCIS adjudication practices."

AILA Associate Director of Government Relations Diane Rish said, "This FOIA production not only provides critical insights to AILA members, stakeholders, and the public about changes to H-1B adjudication standards-it also underscores the immense need for USCIS transparency and accountability. As demonstrated by this lawsuit, holding USCIS accountable often requires taking the government to court."

Find more information about the FOIA lawsuit, as well as the documents released by USCIS, here.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. Follow the latest AILA news and information on and Twitter @AILANational.