|For immediate release Washington, DC||May 24, 2018
Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Mia Love, a Utah Republican led 130 bipartisan members of Congress in urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to reconsider the plan to eliminate work authorization for the spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers. The H4 EAD or employment authorization documents allowed spouses to work and not just accompany their spouses to the United States.
As part of a crackdown on the H-1B visa program, the Trump administration had announced last fall that it planned to scrap a 2015 Obama-era rule, which allowed the spouses of certain H-1B workers to apply for their own work visas. The H-1B visa program is for highly skilled workers, mainly Indian tech workers, valid for three years and then renewable for another three years. After this, workers can apply for permanent legal status and their spouses can apply for H4 EAD status.
In the letter, members wrote to Secretary Nielsen saying that, “The opportunity for H-4 visa holders to work has made our economy stronger, while providing relief and economic support to thousands of spouses—mostly women—who have resided in the United States for years. Many are on the path to permanent residency, and would already be permanent residents if not for the decades-long employment backlogs. Rescinding the rule will hurt the competitiveness of U.S. employers and the U.S. economy, as well as H-4 accompanying spouses and their families. We strongly urge you to reconsider this action.”
The change in the rule, expected in June, upholds President Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" initiative, which began with an executive order signed in April 2017. The executive order could mean that thousands of highly educated and skilled spouses, mostly Indian, and on track for permanent residency, would have to give up their jobs, even those with highly sought after skills.
Welcoming the bipartisan move, Mr. Sanjay Puri of USINPAC remarked that, “With unemployment rates at a historic low and US hiring at a steady streak, the premise that H1B program is to blame for US unemployment rings hollow. The US is a country of immigrants. USINPAC supports comprehensive immigration reform that also focuses on attracting and retaining the best talent.”
The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community. Visit www.usinpac.com for more details.