H-1B and H-2B visas allow individuals from foreign countries who have specific skill sets to temporarily work and live in the U.S. with their families. H-1B visa holders are particularly prevalent in U.S. tech jobs.
President Trump on June 22 issued a proclamation suspending and limiting H-1B, H-2B, J and L visas, citing the "risk that aliens seeking admission or entry to the United States may introduce, transmit, or spread SARS-CoV-2 within the United States."
All four of the country's biggest tech giants have spoken out against the suspension, and the Monday court filing includes quotes from Amazon, Facebook, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft President Brad Smith, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and PayPal CEO Dan Schulman condemning the ban.
"Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream. There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation," Cook tweeted on June 23. His tweet is included in the filing.
The other tech companies and CEOs issued similar statements of disapproval.
The complaint adds that contrary to the president's proclamation that H-1B visa holders pose a threat to American workers competing for jobs, the suspension could force "many companies to create jobs outside the U.S., particularly for highly-specialized positions like those for which H-1B visa holders qualify."
While many U.S. employees have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tech sector has added jobs since January: "The unemployment rate in the U.S. for individuals in computer occupations declined from 3 [percent] in January of this year to 2.8 [percent] in April, and further still to 2.5 [percent] in May," the filing notes.
It also says the H-1B visa program helped increase wage growth for U.S.-born, college-educated workers between 1990 and 2010, adding that there is "little evidence" the program stifles competition for American workers.
Companies that could not hire temporary foreign workers saw a decrease in sales and revenue, according to the filing.
"But beyond the overwhelming data undermining the Proclamation’s purported rationale, the Administration’s actions send a fundamentally un-American message to those abroad who might otherwise have brought their skills and ingenuity to the United States," the complaint states.
Other big tech companies included in the filing are: Adobe, DropBox, GitHub, HP, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, Postmates, Reddit, Shutterstock, Square, Twitter, Uber, Upwork, Workday and Zillow.
A number of health care experts have also pointed out that the H-1B suspension could harm health care facilities during the pandemic, especially in rural areas that are more reliant on foreign medical workers.
The president has previously expressed support for the H-1B program.