Concerns regarding the rescission of the H-4 EAD Rule have heightened in the wake of the publication of the Department of Homeland Security’s Spring 2019 Regulatory Agenda. In response, two California congresswomen, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-Cal.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.), reintroduced a bill to protect those work authorizations – The H-4 Employment Protection Act. Both Eshoo and Lofgren represent the Bay Area of California, a region that would be particularly hard hit by the elimination of H-4 EADs.
The proposed DHS rule rescinding H-4 EADs is still under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The deadline for completing this review is June 20, 2019. If OMB approves the proposed rule, it will be published in the Federal Register and the public Notice-and-Comment Period will begin. The comment period generally lasts 30 to 60 days. This time frame, however, could be shorter, or even eliminated, in certain situations.
L. Francis Cissna, former Director of USCIS, had previously stated, “[T]he public will be given an opportunity to provide feedback during a notice and comment period on any revisions to the regulations that DHS determines are appropriate, including revisions relating to the H-4 Rule.” But Cissna, at the request of President Donald Trump, tendered his resignation as of June 1, 2019. Cissna instituted many changes regarding legal immigration in pursuit of the President’s stated goal of protecting U.S. workers. Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia, may be in line to be the next Director of USCIS. Cuccinelli has been described as an immigration hardliner. How he, or whoever succeeds Cissna, will handle the upcoming Notice-and-Comment Period is yet to be seen.
Jackson Lewis attorneys will continue to provide updates regarding the new rule that could affect approximately 100,000 spouses, their families, and their employers.