H4 EAD holders should build valid, evidence-based comments for USCIS: Immigration attorneys

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Should the USCIS decides to terminate H4 EAD, there will be a public comment period.

The work authorization status of thousands of professionals who are on H4 visa remains uncertain, with the Trump administration deciding to eliminate it.

In February, the Department of Homeland submitted a proposal to terminate the H4 EAD to the Office of Management and Budget — an office within the White House that is tasked with reviewing proposed legislation — for review.

The OMB review, one of the first steps in rule-making process, is still not complete, even though it was expected in 90 days. Once the

Once the OMB review is complete, before the administration can put into effect the proposed rule to revoke work authorization or EAD, it needs to put up a formal intent on the proposed rule change, and make it available to the public. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is then supposed to be cleared by the White House and published in the Federal Register. After this, there is a 30-60 days review period during which the public can comment on the proposed rule.

ALSO READ: H4 visa: a primer

In the meantime, immigration lawyers are advising those who have H4 EAD that they should build valid, evidence-based comments that can be submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

There is also an ongoing federal lawsuit against the H4 EAD, filed by the anti-immigration group Save Jobs USA. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for September 27.

Even though, one hasn’t heard from the USCIS on the matter for a couple of months, legal experts advise that people should judiciously use the time and invest in building informed, accurate and research-based comments, which they can post once the comment period is opened.

Dhara Puvar, Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), which recently published a report on H4-EAD holders and their contributions to American economy, says, “During this period, it will be crucial to bring these findings and the voices of those directly impacted to decision makers in an effort to oppose this rule change. The comment period provides an opportunity for EAD holders and advocates to take concrete action on this issue, as these comments and responses are likely to provide the basis for a court challenge to the rescission of the rule.”

According to experts, it is possible that the DHS may come up with a revoke rule before these dates. Many of those who are closely involved in the progress of the case infer that DHS may be working to establish the economic consequences of granting H4-EAD and how it affects American job seekers. It looks only plausible then that those looking to save the rule must also build up strong arguments in its favor.

In the recent past, immigrant groups have argued that H4-EAD rescission is a racial, economic and gender justice issue. The latest SAAPRI report titled “Defying Dependence” revealed that rescinding work authorization would not provide any conceivable benefit to domestic workers or economy. In fact, it would only go on to reduce federal tax revenue. That H4 EAD is a gender justice issue can also be established by the fact that last year a report on H4 visas by the independent Congressional Research Service of US Congress found out that 93 percent of all applications granted H4 EAD were women and only 7 percent were men.

“Our hope is that data such as SAAPRI’s can be used to support advocacy efforts to protect the EAD and drive evidence-based comments to USCIS during the public comment period that will open once the proposed rule change is published to the Federal Register,” says prominent immigration attorney Tejas Shah.

Various other reports have also indicated the many advantages that H4 EAD workers bring to the American economy. Experts suggest that it is time to bring them up and build logical case in favor of the continuation of H4 EAD.


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