Editorial: Trump’s cruel rule to strip H-1B spouses of the right to work

The Trump administration is moving forward with its much-criticized plan to strip working rights from about 100,000 foreign citizens in the U.S., many of whom live in the Bay Area.The Department of Homeland Security has announced that its new rule to ban the spouses of H-1B visa holders from working will be issued next month.

“Some U.S. workers would benefit from this proposed rule by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold,” the department said in the notice, as way of explanation for its actions.

In other words, this move is part of President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which was signed in 2017.

The Trump administration has already slowed the flow of H-1B visas,which are a linchpin of the Bay Area’s technology industry.

Trump himself has made it clear that he wants to make major changes to the controversial visa program. But it’s particularly cruel for his administration to launch a broadside against H-1B visa holders by banning their spouses from working.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee have estimated that 93 percent of H-4 visa holders are women from India.

Many of these women are highly educated; most are in their prime working years. By stripping H-4 visa holders of their right to work, the Trump administration is effectively denying a discrete group of women the opportunity to have economic independence and to provide for their families.

The rule change will also have an outsize impact on the Bay Area.

Many Bay Area residents who hold H-4 visas have told news organizations that, should the Trump administration go forward with this rule change, they and their families will probably have to leave the area or even the U.S.

That’s a brain drain this dynamic region can ill afford.

The Trump administration must leave the H-4 visa program alone.

Source: Editorial: Trump’s cruel rule to strip H-1B spouses of the…

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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