Call to Action: Protect Immigrant Women’s Ability to Work

​93% of immi­grants who are on H‑4 visas and have work per­mits or employ­ment autho­riza­tion doc­u­ments (EAD) are South Asian women.  Many of them are essen­tial work­ers, pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal ser­vices dur­ing this pan­dem­ic, but they’re not able to work because of delays in pro­cess­ing the renew­al of their work per­mits. Join us in urg­ing Mem­bers of Con­gress to ask Pres­i­dent-Elect Biden to extend the valid­i­ty of all expired H‑4 EAD work per­mits on day one of his admin­is­tra­tion.

Here are 4 ways you can step up and advocate for our communities' EAD recipients:

  • If you have less than a minute, spread the word to your loved ones and community members via WhatsApp. Click­ing on the link will also allow you to copy and paste the mes­sage to oth­er plat­forms, such as Sig­nal or SMS.
  • If you have three minutes, send our pre-written letter to your Members using democracy.io. This form uses your address to deter­mine your elect­ed offi­cials and their con­tact infor­ma­tion. You can use SAALT’s pre-writ­ten let­ter (which is also avail­able in full under the image at the bot­tom of this page), or edit it and write your own, as well as tag it under “Immi­gra­tion” to ensure it catch­es the eyes of your Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.
  • If you have five minutes, tweet at your Members by clicking here and tagging them. You can find the name of your Rep­re­sen­ta­tives here, then find their Twit­ter accounts.
  • If you have more than five minutes, and have experienced difficulties with EAD processing due to USCIS delays, tell us your story here. Hear­ing the human impact of this issue is essen­tial for jour­nal­ists and law­mak­ers to under­stand why it’s so urgent that the incom­ing Biden Admin­is­tra­tion extends work per­mits for all those on H‑4 visas. If you know loved ones or com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who have sim­i­lar sto­ries, ask them to detail their expe­ri­ences, too.

SAALT, along­side our allies Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice AAJC, NAPAWF, and Rak­sha, are work­ing with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bon­nie Wat­son Cole­man to demand that the incom­ing Biden Admin­is­tra­tion pro­tects our com­mu­ni­ties’ EAD recip­i­ents by extend­ing the valid­i­ty peri­od of all expired H‑4 EADs to resolve pro­cess­ing delays. For more infor­ma­tion, or to ask any fur­ther ques­tions, please con­tact the SAALT’s Pol­i­cy Man­ag­er Mah­noor Hus­sain at mahnoor@saalt.org.

Dear Con­gressper­son:

I am a res­i­dent of your dis­trict, and am writ­ing to request that you sign on to Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman’s letter to Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden and his Admin­is­tra­tion, demand­ing imme­di­ate relief to the many fam­i­lies adverse­ly impact­ed by sig­nif­i­cant delays in the pro­cess­ing of work autho­riza­tion doc­u­ments (EADs) for peo­ple on H‑4 visas. These delays in EAD renewals are caus­ing laps­es in work autho­riza­tion and job loss­es affect­ing many peo­ple, most­ly women of col­or, in my town. This is why I respect­ful­ly request that you ask Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden and his Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty to pub­lish a Fed­er­al Reg­is­ter notice on day one of their admin­is­tra­tion to extend the valid­i­ty peri­od of all expired H‑4 EADs.

As you know, in 2015, after sev­er­al years of advo­ca­cy by com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, includ­ing var­i­ous South Asian women’s orga­ni­za­tions, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) issued a rule allow­ing cer­tain H‑4 depen­dent spous­es of H‑1B visa hold­ers to legal­ly seek employ­ment in the US. Once an H‑1B hold­er is spon­sored for employ­ment-based law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dent (LPR) sta­tus (oth­er­wise known as a green card) his or her H‑4 visa-hold­ing spouse may apply for work autho­riza­tion. This rule pre­sent­ed an impor­tant step towards rec­ti­fy­ing gen­der dis­par­i­ties in our immi­gra­tion sys­tem as around 95% of H‑4 visa hold­ers who have secured work autho­riza­tion are women. Before the rule was grant­ed, many women on H‑4 visas described depres­sion and iso­la­tion in mov­ing to a new coun­try and not being allowed to work out­side of the home.

These women on H‑4 visas work in a vari­ety of fields includ­ing as essen­tial health­care work­ers, includ­ing in research and devel­op­ment roles at phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies; these women play tremen­dous­ly impor­tant roles as we con­tin­ue to bat­tle the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, women are los­ing and will con­tin­ue to lose their jobs until this is put right, dis­rupt­ing the lives of their fam­i­lies and the func­tion­ing of employ­ers in our dis­tricts. I respect­ful­ly request that you co-sign Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bon­nie Wat­son Coleman’s let­ter to Pres­i­dent Elect Joe Biden before Decem­ber 9, 2020 and stand with the H‑4 EADs in our com­mu­ni­ty.

Sin­cere­ly,
Your Con­stituent