In November 2016, USCIS published the Final Rule for Certain Employment-Based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs that made H4 EAD a rule.
USCIS has made the EAD for H-4 status holder (spouse of H-1b status holder) a rule. The rule has gone into effect in 2017 and many spouses of H-1b status holder eagerly await for their husband’s employer to file and get approved of immigrant visa petition Form I-140 because an approved immigrant visa petition by an employer is the prerequisite for qualification for H-4 EAD. With Trump’s inauguration and chaos in the first week after he signed several executive orders banning travel from several countries in the world, rumors started swirling that Trump will cancel the EAD benefit that has recently been granted to H-4 spouse whose husband is the beneficiary of an approved I-140. I do not believe this will happen and I offer three reasons why.
First, Trump is more worried about illegal immigration than legal immigration. H-4 EAD is not an illegal immigration issue and Trump does not intend to change it.
Trump has focused his attention on illegal immigration and diverted everyone’s attention to building the wall at the Mexican border. Trump largely campaigned for two immigration issues: (a) Mexican wall (illegal immigration) and (b) H-1b reform (protecting US worker from losing their jobs). The new H-4 EAD rule does not pertain to illegal immigration, and it does not have much to do with the abuse and misuse of H-1b quota that Trump has been trumpeting about during his campaign. I doubt that Trump even understand the policy involving H-4 EAD, and does not care to know. There has not been wide report of H-4 EAD abuse because it is a new policy and not many H-4 spouses have actually gotten the EAD. With such a small group of beneficiaries, coupled with the fact that it has nothing to do with illegal immigration, Trump will not revoke this new rule.
Second, much resources and efforts have been poured into creating the final rule that USCIS in November 2016, and revoking the rule now would be a waste and it does nothing to help Trump with his base voters.
The USCIS final rule was implemented after years of internal research and discussion, and after much public commentary. It was published in November 2016, only a couple months before Trump’s inauguration. If Trump unilaterally cancels the new H-4 EAD rule, it would put all the research, discussion and public commentary to waste. Trump would not be so dumb as to do that when it doesn’t help arouse his base voters. Most of his base voters care about H-1b abuse and misuse but does not care about H-4 EAD because most of them do not care whether H-1b status holders’ spouse is able to work. Most of them are not able to contemplate that because it is one of the intricacies of US Immigration law that is not on the forefront of news media. Trump is not going to do something that makes him look bad but doesn’t help win the love of his base voters. Therefore, Trump will not revoke this rule and will likely observe it for some time to see if it results any abuse.
Third, Trump is actually secretly supportive of high-skilled immigration, as evidenced by his peaceful meeting with the Silicon Valley elites. Most H-1b spouses are also employed as high skilled labor and Trump is not likely to disturb this sector.
Trump wishes to reform H-1b by making sure that it is not abused by companies who use it to replace unskilled workers because allowing companies to abuse H-1b quota would result in less unskilled American workers from being hired, according to Trump. Trump’s voters are often unskilled workers who are worried about losing their jobs. This is why the high-skilled labor market has largely been left unscathed by Trump at least for the first week. Of course, anything can change with an unpredictable ruler like Donald Trump, but I boldly predict that Trump will not make significant changes to the high-skilled immigration labor market, and, instead, he might allow more high-skilled immigration while appearing to be tough on H-1b. As such he will most likely not focus his energy on revoking the H-4 visa.
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