- The head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) confirmed his agency has participated in "multiple investigations" regarding possible misuse of the H-1B visa program and "continues to review information" about those investigations, according to a letter sent to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IA, from James McCament, acting director of USCIS, dated May 24, 2017.
- The letter was written in reply a letter Grassley sent to USCIS in March expressing concerns about the H-1B visa program. In the letter, USCIS asked Grassley for help from Congress to increase their oversight abilities and enhance the authorities they have to deter and prosecute H-1B fraud.
- McCament also advised Grassley that USCIS plans to propose new rules and issue new guidance relating to the H-1B program "as soon as practicable and consistent with applicable law" and that the agency is working with the Secretary’s office and the Office of Management and Budget to develop legislative reforms to be sent to the Committee on the Judiciary to "enhance the program’s integrity."
McCament’s letter provides some insight into what USCIS has been up to since President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April encouraging U.S. companies to "Buy American and Hire American" and calling for "strict enforcement" of labor laws for workers coming to the U.S.
For the Trump administration, it’s all about creating an environment for higher wages and employment rates for American workers. In early April, the Justice Department and USCIS warned employers petitioning for visas not to discriminate against U.S. workers and also committed to conducting more site visits to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees, especially to H-1B-dependent employers.
Trump’s executive order made it clear he expects action on the H-1B program, and it appears that Grassley and USCIS both want to ensure they are addressing the issue in a timely and effective manner. Meanwhile, the departments of State, Homeland Security, Labor and Justice have until November to review the H-1B policy and recommend changes to the Trump administration.