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Louisiana business groups sue Labor Department over new immigrant hiring rules

By Alejandro de los Rios | Sep 15, 2011

A group of Louisiana business are suing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over proposed revisions to a federal program regarding immigrant workers.

The Louisiana Forestry Association, the Crawfish Processors Alliance, the American Sugar Cane League of the USA and several other Louisiana businesses who rely on immigrant workers filed the lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

The lawsuit seeks to block reform to the federal H-2B program that allows businesses to hire immigrant workers on a guest basis.

The new regulations, which take effect Sept. 30, demand that businesses increase hourly wages for immigrant workers anywhere from 51 percent to 83 percent.

The suit states the wage increases will cause the businesses "substantial, immediate and irreparable harm."

The lawsuit claims that new wage rules and regulations will adversely affect businesses that hire thousands of American workers as well as immigrants.

"In reaching an arbitrary conclusion about adverse effect resulting from the employment of workers with H-2B vias[sic], DOL ignores the highly relevant fact that H-2B workers are already paid a wage rate mandated and heavily audited by DOL that DOL itself has determined will not result in an adverse effect on U.S. workers," the suit states.

The suit states that businesses will begin to lose out to foreign corporations and businesses that circumvent the H-2B program and hire illegal immigrants.

The law firm of Fisher & Phillips, which has 25 locations across the country, filed the lawsuit.

Federal Case 1:11-cv-01623

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