The H-4 Visa Dilemma: Middle Class, Documented, and Helpless
Creators:Mathew, S. Deborah
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Political Science Honors Theses; 2010
The provisions of the H-4 visa negatively affect South Asian immigrant women in primarily three ways. It leaves them vulnerable to domestic violence since they are legally, financially, and emotionally dependent on their spouse. It leaves well-educated, qualified women without work authorization and limits employment sponsorship, and in essence prolongs their abuse because of the lack of financial independence. Also, due to the abuse endured from their spouse and lack of social interaction and participation, it leaves these women socially isolated from the rest of the population with nowhere to turn. Additionally, because these women have legal status and many of them are well-educated and in middle-class income bracket, the provisions of the H-4 visa create a class of women whose status is analogous to, and in some cases, worse than undocumented, illegal immigrants. But because they are middle class and have valid status, immigration lawyers and domestic violence organizations often overlook the plight of these women. However, their valid immigration status obscures the fact that these women maintain their status only at the hands of their husbands. Advisor: Irfan Nooruddin
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