(This article originally appeared in The Hill on January 18, 2018)
A coalition of major Washington, D.C., trade associations representing technology and other industries is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to preserve visas that allow spouses of H1B high-skilled workers to also be employed in the U.S.
“Individuals looking to obtain H-4 authorization already legally reside in the United States and are on the path to permanent residency. They are also eager to work in order to support their families, contribute to their communities by paying taxes, and utilize their skills to help the U.S. economy grow,” the groups wrote in a letter to Lee Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of DHS.
“It is a function of the failure to reform our nation’s immigration system that this group of H-4 spouses — the majority of whom are women — continue to face uncertainty and may be prevented from working while they wait for bureaucratic backlogs to be cleared,” they continued.
Signatories on the letter spearheaded by the Information Technology Industry Council include Silicon Valley-backed immigration advocacy group Fwd.us and other technology trade associations like BSA and TechNet as well the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce.
The group’s letter comes after the Trump administration signaled its intention to scrap H-4 visas in December as a part of the President Trump's “Buy American, Hire American” executive order issued in April.
The letter is the latest pushback from the technology industry as is it lobbies for the White House and Congress to not restrict high-skilled worker visas, as some Republicans and Trump have floated curbing certain parts of the program.