The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to introduce a rule that would rescind work authorizations for the spouses and under-21 children of H-1B visa holders. The news comes from a court filing in a lawsuit challenging a 2015 Obama rule allowing spouses and children, who hold H-4 visas, to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs).

DHS filed an update with the D.C. Court of Appeals in the lawsuit lodged by Save Jobs USA, a coalition of former Southern California Edison workers who were displaced by H-1B guest workers. DHS had asked the court to stay its ruling in the case while the agency proceeded with a rulemaking to rescind H-4 EADs, which would make the case moot.

The DHS filing said, "Final DHS clearance review of the proposed rule is ongoing, and senior levels of the Department’s leadership are actively considering the terms of the NPRM [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] for approval. As previously noted, after DHS clearance, Office of Management and Budget review will occur…As represented to the Court in prior status reports, DHS’s intention to proceed with publication of an NPRM concerning the H-4 visa rule at issue in this case remains unchanged."

The H-4 EAD rescission was conceived under President Trump’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order. That initiative directed DHS to “propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse.”

After the rule is proposed, it will be subject to a 60-day comment period before it can take effect. University of Tennessee researchers estimate 100,000 H-4 visa holders will lose work permits under the rule, 93 percent of them women from India.

Read more in Mercury News.

Updated: Thu, Sep 6th 2018 @ 3:05pm EDT