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Photo:Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Big Tech companies, led by Google, filed an amicus brief in federal court Friday morning in support of the spouses of certain H-1B high-skilled visa holders, whose ability to work in the U.S is being threatened in court.

What they're saying: In the brief, tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Amazon argue that removing the ability of more than 90,000 H-4 visa holders to work, "would result in these talented individuals being barred from the workplace" and "would be utterly destructive for the families impacted."

Between the lines: U.S. tech companies often rely on the skilled labor of both H-1B and H-4 workers.

  • In the brief, the companies defend the work authorization as "critically important" to the foreign workers, employers like themselves and the overall economy.
  • "By frustrating the efforts of skilled professionals to remain in the United States, vacatur of the H-4 Rule thus would not only siphon off U.S. gross domestic product, but gift that productivity—and the innovation that comes with it—to other nations, harming America’s global economic competitiveness into the future."

Background: The Obama administration provided work authorization for the spouses of H-1B visas holders with pending green cards. It has allowed more than 90,000 people to legally work in the U.S. — more than 90% are women, as the brief states.

  • In 2015, an organization of tech workers called Save Jobs USA filed a lawsuit over the rule, claiming that the work authorization is illegal and creates unfair job competition.
  • The Trump administration proposed to end the work authorization, but the rule was never finalized. It was then dropped by the Biden administration, but the litigation has been revived.

Go deeper

12 Republican governors ask Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Twelve Republican governors on Thursday filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which set a precedent for the constitutional right to abortion.

Why it matters: The governors were writing in support of an upcoming case concerning Mississippi's law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.