According to the latest reports, Trump is planning to eliminate the option for work authorization for spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants. President Obama implemented this spousal work permission option almost 3 years ago in the interests of family unity, economic opportunity, and strengthening of America’s place in the high tech, global economy. Without the rule, U.S. companies could very well lose crucial employees who will leave their existing jobs in the U.S. or refuse to take jobs in the U.S. Trump’s continued attacks on U.S. employers using the H-1B program does not make good economic sense. The reports also mention Trump’s professed desire to reevaluate the H-1B program and limit eligibility in order to “increase focus on truly obtaining the best and brightest foreign nationals”. Speaking from my own experience as an attorney practicing U.S. immigration law for more than 25 years, I can say without reservation that the companies I have represented are always looking for the best and the brightest and if they cannot find qualified U.S. workers they will use lawful avenues to hire foreign nationals such as the H-1B program. When U.S. employers hire foreign nationals through the H-1B program, the individuals they hire include highly trained, educated, and experienced professionals often with multiple degrees and advanced degrees in engineering, computer science, biology, chemistry, economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, and the list goes on and on. These people have often already contributed to the U.S. by attending U.S. colleges and universities and when they work with permission based on H-1B status, they contribute on a daily basis to their U.S. employers, their communities, their particular industries, and the entire country. They pay taxes, send their children to American schools, volunteer in their communities, and live the same kinds of lives as we all do. More often than not, they go on to become lawful permanent residents and eventually U.S. citizens.
Timothy R. Bakken