A federal judge has blocked the enforcement of the H-1B visa ban issued by President Donald Trump this year, saying the president exceeded his constitutional authority.
The order was issued on Thursday (1st Oct 2020) by District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California. The lawsuit against the Department of Commerce and Department of Homeland Security was filed by companies represented by the National Associated of Manufactures, US Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, and TechNet.
In June, a temporary ban had issued on issuing new H-1B and other foreign visas including H-2B, J, and L visas, till the end of the year. The president had argued that the United States needs to save and protect jobs for its domestic workforce at a time when millions of them lost their jobs due to the outbreak of a pandemic. In the order of the federal judge, he said “Congress’s delegation of authority in the immigration context does not afford the president unbridled authority to set domestic policy regarding the employment of non-immigrant foreigners. Such a finding would render the president’s Article II powers all but superfluous.” Judge White wrote in his 25-page order. “Indeed, there must be some measure of constraint on the presidential authority in the domestic sphere in order not to render the executive an entirely monarchical power in the immigration context, an area within clear legislative prerogative. Such unrestricted authority would be contrary to Congress’ explicit delegation of powers in foreign affairs and national security,” White said. If the fact that immigrants come from other countries inherently made their admission foreign relations subject to the President’s Article II power, then all this law would be superfluous, the judge said. The ruling given by Judge White is different with an order passed by District Judge Amit Mehta of the District of Columbia in August who ruled that he does have the power to enjoin the ban while the litigation is underway. “the wisdom of the president’s decision to address those changed circumstances by restricting the entry of certain classed of aliens is a policy decision the judiciary is not well equipped to evaluate” Judge Shah said.