Shilpa Sachdev moved from India to the U.S. in 2013 to be with her husband, who had landed a job as an engineer for Microsoft under a visa program that allows American companies to hire foreign workers.
Sachdev arrived as an H-4 visa holder, the designation for spouses and children of H-1B visa workers. She initially couldn't work in the U.S., but a door opened in 2015, when the Obama administration approved a rule allowing some H-4 holders to gain employment. Sachdev got a job as a content manager at cloud-computing company ServiceNow.
"For me being able to work can be summed up in one word — it's independence," Sachdev told CNBC. "We bought a house and we're paying the bills together now."
However, just as Sachdev was getting comfortable with her newfound freedom, President Donald Trump's administration is on the verge of potentially taking it away.
In a court filing last week, the administration indicated that it will rescind the work authorization given to some of the nearly 100,000 H-4 visa holders now employed in the U.S.
It's the president's latest move against immigration, a subject that has riled his critics since he began his campaign by attacking Mexicans who were crossing the border. A number of prominent U.S. business leaders, including Apple's Tim Cook, IBM's Ginni Rometty and J.P. Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon wrote a letter last week to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressing concern over immigration policy, specifically a spike in denials of H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers.
"In general, there is a sense of disbelief that the government would actually revoke this work authorization for high-skilled professionals who are well on their path to permanent residence," said Sandra Feist, an immigration attorney with Grell Feist. "This will cause major personal and corporate disruption."