CATA v. Solis
New regulations for the nation's H-2B guestworker program, enacted in the waning days of the Bush administration, threatened to weaken worker protections and make it easier to replace U.S. workers with temporary foreign labor. The Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of immigrant rights organizations filed a federal lawsuit challenging the regulations on behalf of several farmworker organizations and a Mexican guestworker who would be harmed by them.
The lawsuit, originally known as CATA v. Chao and later changed to include current administration officials, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It claimed the new regulations would expand the definition of temporary jobs to include jobs lasting up to three years – increasing the type of jobs open to low-skill guestworkers. The existing regulations allowed foreign guestworkers to be hired for no more than one year.
The new regulations allowed employers wishing to use the guestworker program to simply vouch that they were unable to find enough U.S. workers for these positions. The existing regulations required employers to obtain certification from the Department of Labor that there is a shortage of U.S. workers.