Reps. Eshoo and Lofgren reintroduce H4 work authorization protection bill in House

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Representatives Anna G Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren from California on Wednesday introduced legislation in US House of Representatives to protect work authorization of H-4 visa workers.

The reintroduction of H-4 Employment Protection Act a few days after Department of Homeland Security said it would publish this month the long-promised regulation that would prevent work authorization to spouses on H-4 visas.

This week, the Trump Administration announced plans to overturn current DHS regulations that allow certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders who are stuck in green card backlogs to obtain employment authorization, pursue their own professional goals, and contribute to the US economy, said the lawmakers Anna G Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren.

Many H-4 visa holders are highly skilled professionals, and DHS previously extended eligibility for employment authorization to them recognizing the economic burdens of families of many H-1B workers, particularly those who live in high-cost areas like Silicon Valley on a single income as they await green card approvals, they said.

Since the rule was implemented, over 100,000 workers, mainly women, have received employment authorization, and the H-4 Employment Protection Act prohibits the Trump Administration from revoking this important rule.

“H-4 visa holders deserve a chance to contribute to their local economies and provide for their families,” Eshoo said. “This is a matter of economic fairness and this legislation ensures it will continue,” she added.

“While the Trump Administration sits on its hands and does nothing, American citizens in-waiting are stuck in line for their number to come up,” Lofgren said.

“Nobody benefits from this system, least of all the American economy when H-1B dependent spouses are prohibited from working. Many of these are accomplished and qualified individuals whose skills we’ll lose to other countries unless the Administration finds a more sensible approach to immigration,” she said.

Last November, Eshoo and Lofgren originally introduced the H-4 Employment Protection Act. In March 2018. Eshoo and Lofgren led 13 Members of Congress in writing to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, urging her to reconsider DHS’s proposal to revoke eligibility for employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses.

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