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Immigration advocates fear for the future of the H-4 EAD rule

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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.

A group of technology sector workers filed a lawsuit challenging the rule in 2016. The case was subsequently dismissed, but the group has since filed an appeal. The Department of Justice could have filed a brief supporting the rule, but the agency chose instead to announce a 60-day pause to allow the Trump administration to review the matter. That period has now ended, and the DOJ has asked for an additional six months to consider its options.

While there is no official word yet on the future of the H-4 EAD rule, many immigration advocates fear the worst. President Trump has been vocal in his criticism of employment visas, and he signed an executive order on April 18 that, among other things, calls on the Departments of Labor, Justice, State and Homeland Security to crack down on abuses of the H-1B program.

Obtaining the authorization needed to live and work legally in America can be a daunting and confusing process. Attorneys with experience in this area will likely be familiar with the myriad statutes, procedures and regulations involved in obtaining an employment visa or green card, and they may advocate on behalf of those hoping to start a new life in the United States or individuals already living in America who are facing deportation proceedings.

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