Using a Scalpel, Not a Sledgehammer, on Some Migration Issues

By David North on August 22, 2017

Sometimes the Trump administration approaches immigration policy matters with what looks like a sledgehammer, as in "A Big Beautiful Wall" or "Ban the Muslims".

Sometimes it does nothing at all, like continuing to give some families with illegal alien workers in them access to food stamps (now SNAP), when equivalent all-citizen families with exactly the same income are denied the benefits.

But sometimes it seems to use a scalpel, not a sledgehammer, to implement its policies.

What I have in mind stems from complaints from lawyers hired by H-1B users about how many USCIS adjudicators are now treating some of the H-1B applications that have managed to get through the annual lottery. (Getting through the lottery means that the application may be selected, but it does not mean that it is automatically selected.)

Probably with a prod from the Trump administration, staff adjudicators are sending what employers regard as an ominous form, the Request for Evidence (RFE), to some of those who have sought these workers to make sure that the workers are, indeed, qualified for H-1B positions and that they have the specialized knowledge and experience to do the work. One entity helping employers with these inquiries, CCI, used this headline for a posting on the subject:

Overturn the Dreaded Level 1 Wage and Specialty Occupation H1B RFE

All of this puts the employers (and their lawyers) in what I regard as a delicious bind. If the job is that specialized and the qualifications are that high, why are you paying Level 1 (i.e., entry level) wages? That is the logical question.

According to Immigration Daily, at least one lawyer for H-1B users is recommending that his clients always file applications at Level 2 or higher.

I do not know if the staff has been ordered to send out more of the RFEs, and I do not know how many applications are turned down for responding inadequately to the RFEs, but I do know that this is a good sign of what appears to be a deft attempt to raise wages for the H-1Bs, and thus, one hopes, to discourage their use.