Court denies motion to dismiss Guam contractors’ H2B lawsuit

U.S. District Court (PNC News file photo)

The District Court of Guam has denied the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Guam Contractors Association (GCA) regarding the H2B work visa program.

The H-2B work visa program allows employers to bring certain foreign nonimmigrant workers to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.

GCA and several other local businesses filed the lawsuit against the US government, accusing the feds of an “unnatural” denial of H2B visas for several consecutive months, resulting in a shortage of skilled construction workers for the island.

The U.S. government, however, has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the recently enacted US defense bill already exempts Guam from any ban on foreign labor and thus the issue is now moot.

In her ruling, District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood said that while portions of GCA’s lawsuit are likely rendered moot by the National Defense Authorization Act FY 19 and NDAA FY 21, the court does not find the legislation completely remedies all of GCA’s alleged injury-in-fact.

Additionally, the judge said the harm alleged is capable of repetition yet evading review, and thus the claims provide an exception to the mootness doctrine.

Thus, the court denied the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the GCA lawsuit.