Maryland residents may be aware that the H-1B non-immigrant visa program was put into place so that businesses in the United States are able to hire foreign workers when suitably qualified American candidates cannot be found. The qualifying spouses of these foreign workers are issued H-4 visas, and they were also granted the right to work legally in the United States when the Department of Homeland Security introduced the employment authorization document H-4 EAD in 2015.
Maryland immigrants who hope that their H-1B visas will make their spouses eligible to apply for work permits may have to wait to see if the government places obstacles in their way. In April 2017, the Department of Homeland Security asked for 180 days to continue its review of an Obama-era rule that let these spouses apply to work under certain circumstances. Although the original rule dates back to 2015, the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump hasn't determined whether it should remain in place.
For the fifth year in a row, the cap for H-1B visa applications was reached within five days. Some people in Maryland might be familiar with H-1B as the visa that allows workers to be temporarily employed in certain high-demand fields. The limit in 2017, as mandated by Congress, is 85,000 visas.
Maryland readers know that President Trump has made deporting illegal immigrants a top priority on his agenda. However, immigration advocates are concerned that his policies are eroding the protections of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which was enacted by the Obama administration in 2012.
Maryland readers may be interested to learn that the Justice Department has announced that it will send temporary immigration judges to six detention centers in order to enact the Trump administration's immigration policies. Four judges will be sent to Texas, one to Louisiana and one to New Mexico.