Immigrants’ Spouses Could Be Next to Face Hardships Under Trump

Jake Neher/WDET

Shikha Dalmia (left) with Stephen Henderson

The discussion about immigration in this country has become base — reduced to arguments over whether to deport people who were brought here illegally as children, even as infants.

But it’s the changes to legal immigration that reveal the biggest threats posed by the Trump administration and reveal just how deeply immigration and this country’s make-up might change if Trump has his way.

For years the H-1B visa has been a path for highly skilled immigrants to find work, and a home, in America. But a recent policy move would alter the way those visas work — not for those who use them, but for their spouses.

Shikha Dalmia came here 30 years ago on one of the H-4 visas available to H1-B spouses. She is now a senior analyst for the Reason Foundation, and a columnist for The Week.

Dalmia wrote recently in the New York Times, “President Trump is now poised to undo a 2015 Obama-era regulation that took a small stab” at addressing the plight of people like her.

What President Obama finally did in 2015 was give these women temporary work authorizations so that they could at least join the labor market, not be permanently frozen out of it,” she tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson. “President Trump, whose hostility to immigrants is just boundless…he now wants to scrap that work authorization.”

A lot of these women are far more qualified than I was when I came to this country,” Dalmia continues. “Highly-skilled people tend to marry other highly-skilled people.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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