Fifty-nine CEOs representing some of the country’s largest and most powerful companies have signed a letter expressing their “serious concern” about immigration policy changes under President Donald Trump.

The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs working to promote pro-business public policy, sent the letter last week to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

“Inconsistent government action and uncertainty undermines economic growth and American competitiveness and creates anxiety for employees who follow the law,” the letter said. “In many cases, these employees studied here and received degrees from U.S. universities, often in critical STEM fields.”

The letter mentioned four policy changes in particular:

  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reversal last October of a long-standing policy where officers gave deference to prior visa approvals when deciding on renewal applications.
  • USCIS’ new policy guidance giving adjudicators more discretion to deny applications, petitions or requests without first issuing a request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s push to rescind H-4 work authorization for spouses of H-1B employees.
  • A recently announced USCIS policy change, currently on hold, that would initiate removal proceedings against foreign nationals who fall out of status when their immigration petitions are denied.

The New York Times reported that USCIS responded to the letter by saying the administration is “relentlessly pursuing necessary immigration reforms that move towards a merit-based system” and that it handles visa applications “fairly, efficiently, and effectively on a case-by-case basis.”

The CEOs warned, however, that the administration’s policies have the potential to hurt American companies in the global economy.

“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,” the letter said.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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