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Why we’re rallying support for immigration rights

May 14th, 2021

The ability to recruit and retain the world’s best talent is crucial to America’s economic success  — and it has been from the beginning.

Whether by founding companies or developing life-saving vaccines, immigrants have pioneered many of the breakthroughs that fuel our economy and make the U.S. a technological leader — including sparking 30% of all U.S. innovation since 1974. That is why we have advocated for a fair and competitive immigration system. And that is why now — as the U.S. emerges from a pandemic only to face unprecedented global competition — we support a system that offers opportunities to highly-skilled workers and their families, and cements the citizenship of Dreamers, rather than miring immigrants in decade-long application backlogs.

A fair immigration system is necessary to preserve America’s laudable history of welcoming people from different places and to fuel a virtuous cycle of innovation. Unfortunately, an impending court case is putting both at risk at the most inopportune moment.

The case in question is an attempt to end the issuing of work authorization (H-4 EAD) for certain spouses of high-skilled talent who have come to this country on H-1B visas. In other words, it seeks to end the ability of highly-skilled immigrants’ partners from working in the United States. This H-4 EAD program provides work authorization to more than 90,000 H-4 visa-holders — more than 90% of whom are women. The pandemic has already disproportionately impacted women and ending this program would only make things worse, leading to disrupted careers and lost wages. Furthemore, if the program is lost, the practical effect is that we welcome a person to the U.S. to work but we make it harder for their spouse to work. That hurts their family, impacts our ability to compete for talent, and harms our economy.

To support this important program, we are leading an amicus brief with over 40 companies and organizations to preserve and protect the H-4 EAD program. This builds on an amicus brief we recently joined in support of a lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association to expedite the delayed processing time of H-4 work authorizations.

As an immigrant myself, I have been the beneficiary of a welcoming America and I hope we can ensure that same welcome for future immigrants by preserving the H-4 EAD program. Ending this program would hurt families and undercut the US economy at a critical moment. To read the legal details of why we are urging the court to reject this attempt to end the H-4 EAD please click here.