The proximity of Maryland to the District of Columbia places its immigrant community close to the restrictions emerging from the U.S. Department of State. Visas meant to enable Afghans who aided U.S. military forces to come to the country and escape persecution in their homeland appear to be running out. A request made in the late months of the Obama administration for 4,000 more visas for Afghans resulted in Congress approving only 1,500 more Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans.
People who are living and working on a H-1B visa in Maryland may be facing additional restrictions regarding their family members. In 2015, the Obama administration introduced a rule that would allow spouses of H-1B visa holders to work if they were waiting for green cards. These spouses have H-4 dependent visas. However, the rule is facing a court challenge, and the Department of Justice has asked to be given until April 2 to consider the issue.
According to a senior administration official, the president is considering a bill that would allow illegal immigrants in Maryland and elsewhere to stay in the country. The bill would let undocumented immigrants remain in the U.S. without fear of being deported so long as they do not commit serious or violent crimes. The president spoke about the idea of a compromise bill in his address to the joint session of Congress.