Spouses of H-1B visa holders can live in the U.S. under the H-4 visa. However, until former President Obama issued an executive order, the spouses were not allowed to work. A group of American H-1B victims then sued against the order, arguing among other things that Obama had exceeded his authority in issuing the order.
All of this is reviewed in an article in yesterday’s Washington Post (or, as a reporter recently joked to me, the Amazon Post, alluding to the paper’s owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos), reporting that the ball is now in President Trump’s court: Trump could, for example, decline to defend against the suit, presumably giving the plaintiffs victory by default. (I say “presumably,” because I can envision the judge overturning the result).
Though the Post article is biased, there is some merit to the headline, “Obama gave these legal immigrants permission to work. Trump may take it away.” In terms of public perception of fairness, there is indeed something bully-like in revoking a privilege; many would have considered it fair if Obama had decided not to grant the H-1Bs work privileges, but revoking it would be considered unfair.
My position on the H-4 work issue has been that they should have the right to work, but they should be counted in the H-1B cap. Congressional intent in the H-1B statute was to limit the number of foreign workers in “specialty occupations” (basically those that normally require a bachelor’s degree or more), and since many of the H-4s are in STEM or other specialty occupations as is the woman profiled in the Post article, it makes sense to count them in the cap. (And, as usual, I must add that the H-4s, like their spouses, are mainly young, so the age discrimination issue that is core to H-1B applies here too.)
Again with a view of post facto fairness, the Trump administration could grandfather current H-4s.
On another point, while the Post is free to slant its news in whatever political direction it desires, and SHOULD do so, this passage is absolutely outrageous:
Miano is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank which the Southern Poverty Law Center recently condemned as a “hate group” for churning out a “constant stream of fear-mongering misinformation” about immigrants.
SPLC began is an organization aiming to improve conditions for impoverished African-Americans in the South. But apparently at some point they noticed that they could increase their funding by branching out to promoting immigration. Fine, but it’s not fine for the Post to promote fake news. I’ve known the people at CIS for years, and they are certainly not a hate group in any sense. The Post, if it had any sense of ethical journalism, would check this out once and for all, and assuming they found the SPLC charge baseless, would stop writing about it.