Congress letters

Rep. Ro Khanna was one of 15 lawmakers who urged DHS not to revoke work eligibility of H-1B holders' spouses. The Indian American congressman signed a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which read in part: “In many areas where these high-tech professionals live, such as Silicon Valley, it is nearly impossible for a family to live on one income.” (Facebook photo)

Indian American freshman U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna was among more than a quarter of California's members of Congress who sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding work eligibility of spouses of H-1B visa holders.

The letter, signed by 15 of the state's 53 representatives and dated March 5, urged DHS not to go forward with its plans to revoke work eligibility of H-1B holders' spouses, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

It is aimed at stopping the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back an Obama-era rule that created work permits for these spouses, who come to the U.S. on an H-4 visa, the report said.

Before the rule was enacted in 2015, these spouses were unable to hold a job or Social Security number as they waited for their green cards — a process that can take years for foreigners from countries like India and China, it added.

The letter serves as one of the first signs of support of H-4 work authorization since President Donald Trump has begun the process of whittling out work permits, the publication said. (See earlier India-West story here.)

A delegation of Massachusetts representatives sent a similar letter to the department in January.

"Over 10 million Californians are foreign born, and without them we would not have companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Qualcomm which have made California’s economy the sixth largest in the world,” the letter reads. “In many areas where these high-tech professionals live, such as Silicon Valley, it is nearly impossible for a family to live on one income.”

Other representatives who signed the California letter included Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jimmy Panetta, Mark DeSaulnier, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Julia Brownley, Jerry McNerney, J. Luis Correa, Linda T. Sanchez, Mark Takano, Juan Vargas and Judy Chu.

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