Amidst uncertainty as to whether the Department of Justice will defend the H-4 Employment Authorization Rule issued by DHS in 2015, Immigration Voice takes action to protect our members.
On March 6, 2017, Immigration Voice announced that it filed a motion to intervene on behalf of thousands of its members who currently possess employment authorization as spouses of H-1B visa holders (H-4 dependent spouses) who have filed for lawful permanent residence. The name of the case at issue is Save Jobs USA v. United States Department of Homeland Security, Case No. 16-5287 (D.C. Circuit).
On February 25, 2015, the Obama Administration issued a rule through the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) allowing certain spouses of H-1B high-skilled visa-holders to work in the United States while the H-1B visa holder awaits the receipt of his/her lawful permanent residency card (green card). This rule is critically important to allow both parents in families to work and provide for their loved ones together in the United States rather than being separated in two different countries during what is often over a decade long wait for a green card. Many of the H-4 dependent spouses have started a business once they received work authorization, thereby creating jobs for U.S. citizens and residents.
Almost immediately after this Rule was issued, a group called Save Jobs USA filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that the Obama administration lacked the authority to issue work authorization for spouses of H-1B holders. The District Court granted summary judgment to DHS, holding that Save Jobs USA lacked standing to sue and upholding the rule.
Save Jobs USA filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. After Save Jobs USA filed its initial brief last month, the Department of Justice surprisingly filed a document on February 1, 2017, entitled “Consent Motion to Hold Proceedings in Abeyance for 60 Days.”
Instead of filing the brief, it was supposed to file on February 10, 2017, that would defend the District Court’s decision on standing and on the merits, the Government asked for a 60-day pause in the case to “allow incoming leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issues.” This is especially concerning to Immigration Voice because Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when he was a United States Senator, called the H-4 Rule a “change [in] immigration law in a way that hurts American workers,” even though this rule has actually allowed many H-4 visa holders, including named intervenors, the ability to start businesses in the United States that employ American workers that would otherwise not have jobs if the Rule had not been promulgated. Immigration Voice decided that intervention in the Save Jobs lawsuit was the only option to protect the rights of our members and their families, including children who are US citizens.
Aman Kapoor, the Co-founder and President of Immigration Voice stated that:
“Immigration Voice could not simply wait until it was too late to see if the Department of Justice would defend the reasoned decision of the District Court dismissing Save Jobs’ complaint. There is nothing for the Department of Justice attorneys to confer with their leadership about given the District Court’s clear decision stating that this case had no basis for ever being filed. The recent statements from the Government present an unacceptable risk for Immigration Voice members that DOJ might decide after 60 days to adopt the position of Save Jobs USA. Any failure to provide the strongest possible defense of the District Court’s decision risks establishing a precedent prohibiting H-4 visa holders from working under the current statutory regime. Under these circumstances, Immigration Voice felt compelled to act to protect the existing and future work permits of our members.”
Immigration Voice is a national non-profit organization with over 100,000 members that advocates for the alleviation of restrictions on employment, travel, and working conditions faced by legal high-skilled immigrants in the United States working as doctors, researchers, scientists, and engineers at many of America’s Fortune 500 companies.
We will hold a public call at 9 pm EST on Tuesday, March 7th to go over this development and to share more background for filing a Motion to Intervene. (call-in details removed)
We thank the fearless Immigration Voice volunteers who have stepped up and burnt the midnight oil over the past several weeks to make this happen. We encourage everyone that is impacted by the H4-EAD program to submit their stories here to help in the arguments of this lawsuit. Please go to yourstory.ImmigrationVoice.org
And last but not the least, please join our National Advocacy Platform on Telegram on telegram.immigrationvoice.org. where you will meet thousands of people from across the country that are advocating on your behalf. It is time for you to step up and be part of the change.