Letter to Department of Homeland Security on Immigration Policies | Business Roundtable

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The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
800 K Street, NW, #1000
Washington, DC 20528
 
Dear Secretary Nielsen:
 
On behalf of the CEO members of Business Roundtable, we write to express our serious concern about changes in immigration policy that are causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening
to disrupt company operations.
 
Due to a shortage of green cards for workers, many employees find themselves stuck in an immigration process lasting more than a decade. These employees must repeatedly renew their temporary work visas during this lengthy and difficult process. Out of fairness to these employees -- and to avoid unnecessary costs and complications for American businesses -- the U.S. government should not change the rules in the middle of the process.
 
Unfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued several policy memoranda over the past year that will do just that, resulting in arbitrary and inconsistent adjudications.
 
Inconsistent government action and uncertainty undermines economic growth and American competitiveness and creates anxiety for employees who follow the law. In many cases, these employees studied here and received degrees
from U.S. universities, often in critical STEM fields.
 
Although having played by the rules, our employees now face the following
uncertainty:
 
  • Inconsistent Immigration Decisions: On October 23, 2017, USCIS rescinded its long-standing “deference” policy under which the government issued consistent immigration decisions unless there was a material change in facts or there was an error in the prior government decision. Now, any adjudicator can disagree with multiple prior approvals without explanation.
  • Uncertainty About Required Information: On July 13, 2018, USCIS issued a memorandum that allows adjudicators to deny petitions or applications on the basis that “initial evidence” was not submitted, yet the agency offered no guidance to adjudicators on how to apply the policy. Companies now do not know whether a work visa petition that was approved last month will be approved when the company submits the identical application to extend the employee’s status. This challenge is particularly acute for companies that hire H-1B professional workers where the government has narrowed eligibility criteria without issuing guidance to adjudicators or the public. 
  • Revoked Status for Spouses: USCIS is soon expected to revoke work authorization eligibility for the H-4 spouses of H-1B employees. These spouses are often highly skilled in their own rights and have built careers and lives around their ability to contribute to companies here. Other countries allow these valuable professionals to work, so revoking their U.S. work authorization will likely cause high-skilled immigrants to take their skills to competitors outside the United States. 
  • Commencement of Removal Proceedings: USCIS recently announced that it will place a legal immigrant in removal (deportation) proceedings if his or her application to change or extend status is denied and he or she does not have another underlying lawful status. Our employees are concerned that they will face removal proceedings even if they have complied with immigration laws and intend to promptly depart the country. 
 
Together, the USCIS actions significantly increase the likelihood that a long-term employee—who has followed the rules and who has been authorized by the U.S. government multiple times to work in the United States—will lose his or her status. All of this despite the Department of Labor having, in many cases, certified that no qualified U.S. workers are available to do that person’s job.  
 
Business Roundtable continues to work with Congress to reduce the green card backlog. In the interim, inconsistent immigration policies are unfair and discourage talented and highly skilled individuals from pursuing career opportunities in the United States. The reality is that few will move their family and settle in a new country if, at any time and without notice, the government can force their immediate departure–often without explanation. At a time when the number of job vacancies are reaching historic highs due to labor shortages, now is not the time restrict access to talent. 
 
As the federal government undertakes its legitimate review of immigration rules, it must avoid making changes that disrupt the lives of thousands of law-abiding and skilled employees, and that inflict substantial harm on U.S. competitiveness.  
 
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
Chuck Robbins
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Chair, Immigration Committee
Business Roundtable
 
Ajita Rajendra
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
A. O. Smith Corporation
 
Carlos Rodriguez
President and Chief Executive Officer
ADP
 
Michael S. Burke
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
AECOM
 
Roger K. Newport
Chief Executive Officer
AK Steel Corporation
 
Patricia L. Kampling
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Alliant Energy Corporation
 
Doug Parker
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
American Airlines
 
Stephen J. Squeri
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
American Express Company
 
Tim Cook
CEO
Apple
 
Eric J. Foss
Chairman, President and
Chief Executive Officer
Aramark Corporation
 
Randall L. Stephenson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
AT&T Inc.
 
John A. Hayes
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Ball Corporation
 
Brian Moynihan
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Bank of America Corporation
 
Laurence D. Fink
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
BlackRock, Inc.
 
Rich Lesser
Chief Executive Officer
Boston Consulting Group
 
Mike Gregoire
Chief Executive Officer
CA Technologies
 
Scott D. Farmer
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Cintas Corporation
 
James Quincey
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Coca-Cola Company
 
Francisco D’Souza
Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman
Cognizant
 
Tom Linebarger
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Cummins Inc.
 
Harold L. Yoh, III
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Day & Zimmermann
 
J. Michael Lawrie
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
DXC Technology
 
Mark A. Weinberger
Global Chairman and CEO
EY
 
David T. Seaton
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Fluor Corporation
 
Richard C. Adkerson
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
 
Deanna M. Mulligan
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
 
Dinesh Paliwal
President and Chief Executive Officer
Harman International Industries, Inc.
 
William M. Brown
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Harris Corporation
 
Dion Weisler
President and CEO
HP Inc.
 
Ginni Rometty
Chairman, President and CEO
IBM Corporation
 
Alex Gorsky
Chairman, Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer
Johnson & Johnson
 
George R. Oliver
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Johnson Controls International plc
 
Jamie Dimon
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
 
Mark Trudeau
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
 
Arne M. Sorenson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Marriott International, Inc.
 
Ajay Banga
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mastercard
 
Omar Ishrak
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Medtronic, Inc.
 
James P. Gorman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Morgan Stanley
 
Adena Friedman
President and Chief Executive Officer
Nasdaq
 
Mauricio Gutierrez
President and Chief Executive Officer
NRG Energy, Inc.
 
Indra K. Nooyi
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
PepsiCo, Inc.
 
Marc B. Lautenbach
President and Chief Executive Officer
Pitney Bowes Inc.
 
Daniel J. Houston
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Principal
 
John R. Strangfeld
Chairman and CEO
Prudential Financial, Inc.
 
Douglas L. Peterson
President and Chief Executive Officer
S&P Global Inc.
 
Marc Benioff
Chairman and Co-CEO
Salesforce
 
Dr. James Goodnight
Chief Executive Officer
SAS
 
Maurice R. Greenberg
Chairman and CEO
Starr Companies
 
James P. Keane
President and Chief Executive Officer
Steelcase Inc.
 
LeRoy T. Carlson, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer
TDS Inc.
 
Richard K. Templeton
Chairman, President and CEO
Texas Instruments Incorporated
 
M. Troy Woods
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
TSYS
 
Peter J. Davoren
President and Chief Executive Officer
Turner Construction Company
 
Tom Hayes
President and CEO
Tyson Foods, Inc.
 
Lowell C. McAdam
Verizon Communications
 
Alfred F. Kelly, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Visa, Inc.
 
Hikmet Ersek
President, CEO and Director
The Western Union Company
 
Abidali Z. Neemuchwala (Abid)
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
Wipro Limited
 
James P. Kavanaugh
Chief Executive Officer
World Wide Technology, Inc.
 
Anders Gustafsson
Chief Executive Officer
Zebra Technologies Corporation

James P. Hackett
President and Chief Executive Officer 
Ford Motor Company
 
Dinesh Paliwal
President and Chief Executive Officer
Harman International Industries, Inc.
 
Michael W. Lamach
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 
Ingersoll Rand