Tech giants throw support behind letting immigrant spouses work legally

Tech giants throw support behind letting immigrant spouses work legally
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A group of nearly 30 tech companies and other organizations filed a legal brief Friday to defend a program that gives work authorization to the spouses of high-skilled immigrants.

The Obama-era rule lets nearly 100,000 spouses of H1-B visa holders in the U.S. work. The rule, known as H-4 EAD, is currently being challenged in court by a group of American tech workers, Save Jobs USA, which says that visa holders and their spouses unfairly compete with American workers.

The coalition of tech companies and organizations advocating for the program filed brief with the court on Friday.

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In the amicus brief, the companies and organizations — including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter — say repealing the rule would “be utterly destructive for the families impacted” and hurt their businesses.

“The pandemic has already disproportionately impacted women and ending this program would only make things worse, leading to disrupted careers and lost wages,” Google’s vice president of legal Catherine Lacavera said in a blog post Friday. “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.”

The H-4 EAD rule, which was passed in 2015, has already survived one attempted repeal. The Trump administration had floated banning it in 2017 but never formalized a ban. 

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services announced in February that a proposal to ban the rule had been withdrawn “consistent with administration priorities.”