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ItServe All., Inc. v. Cissna

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

March 10, 2020, Decided; March 10, 2020, Filed

Civil Action No. 18-2350 (RMC)


By tradition and law, the United States has welcomed foreign workers with specialized training to work temporarily in this country as needed by U.S. employers. The workers in specialty occupations do not come as immigrants; they are given visas for three years to work here. Because non-immigrant H-1B visas are intentionally for a short term, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), in accord with the law, simplified and streamlined the application and approval process in a way inapplicable to immigrants. These H-1B visas have allowed the growth of a business model [*2]  whereby U.S. employers obtain H-1B visas for foreign workers who are trained in information technology (IT) and provide such persons as temporary workers to other U.S. companies that need IT assistance for a period.

In 2003, Congress established the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) and transferred visa authority to it.1 CIS has recently withdrawn INS guidance memos and adopted its own guidance, which has caused the H-1B approval process to slow dramatically and resulted in a high level of rejected visa petitions from employers in the IT industry but not others.

Approximately thirty-three cases have been filed in this District challenging the handling of H-1B visa applications by CIS, a constituent agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Although not "related" within the meaning of Local Civil Rule 40.5(a)(3), the cases have been consolidated before this Court with the agreement of the assigned Judges for briefing on three legal issues under Local Civil Rule 40.5(e):

1. the authority of CIS to grant visas for less than the requested three-year period;

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41136 *; 2020 WL 1150186

ITSERVE ALLIANCE, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. L. FRANCIS CISSNA, Director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Appeal filed, 05/12/2020


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