The South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI) held a press conference for the launch of their latest policy report, Defying Dependence, at the Indo-American Center on July 22nd. SAAPRI studied how the Trump administration’s efforts to revoke the H-4 EAD for H-1B spouses disproportionately impacts South Asian communities in the United States.
“Our findings revealed new evidence, statistics, and case studies that make it clear that rescinding work authorization for H-4 visa holders will have widespread negative consequences for immigrant women, families, and the U.S. at large,” said SAAPRI Executive Director Dhara Puvar.
At the press conference, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District) discussed the impact of this rule change. She said, “It is women who would lose the ability to pursue their own careers, their own professions, and to be able to support the family and contribute to the United States economy.”
Congresswoman Schakowsky said she is co-sponsoring H.R. 3033, the H-4 Employment Protection Act of 2019, in the U.S. House of Representatives that protects the H-4 work authorization program. Schakowsky was joined by U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL 8th District) and Illinois State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-17th District).
On the H-4 rescission proposed rule, State Rep. Gong-Gershowitz said,“The decision by the Trump administration takes women backward, reinforcing dependency and isolation, confining opportunities for dependent spouses…it places barriers on women’s lives and it’s unacceptable.”
She said that at the state level, she and her colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly “are doing all we can to mitigate some of the impacts of decisions by the Trump administration.”
SAAPRI’s Defying Dependence calls for the protection of H-4 work authorization and a Congressional solution to the Green Card backlog that will ensure that the H-4 EAD program does not remain a stop-gap solution to current immigration hurdles.
Congressman Krishnamoorthi said, “we have to be able to solve the fundamental problem of H-1B holders not being able to get permanent residency in America.” He is one of the original cosponsors of H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, which would address the Green Card backlog issue and was passed by the House of Representatives on July 10, 2019.