In this article, Professor Stewart Chang uses the situation of H-4 visa derivatives in the Asian Indian immigrant community as a case study to expose and critique larger incongruities within current American immigration policy, which on the one hand has historically extolled individuality, equality, and workforce participation as avenues to the American Dream, while enforcing gender hierarchy and dependency through requirements that prioritize family unity on the other. These incongruities remain largely unnoticed because the culture of dependency is often attributed to traditional ethnic culture, which then becomes the site of scrutiny and blame. The H-4 visa dilemma in the Asian Indian community illustrates how the legal restrictions stipulated in immigration law often produce and perpetuate recursions of 'traditional culture' within immigrant American families that ultimately consign Asian Indian women to perpetually occupy the place of the foreign'Other' in American society. The 'Othering' of the ethnic alien culture perpetuates the illusion that America is not patriarchal in comparison, which concurrently promotes the idea that the foreign culture is inferior, behind, and incompatible.'" This constructed inferiority further forecloses these women from other avenues of justice in America, such as family law, which is similarly configured as to be culturally incompatible with the dependent immigrant subject. Thus, these women often voluntarily choose to exclude themselves from the process, as did many of my Asian Indian clients. These are the assumptions and hierarchies regarding the mythos of independence in American identity that this article seeks to overcome, which then open avenues for some nonconventional solutions.
19 Asian Pac. Am. L.J. 1 (2014).
Chang, Stewart, "Dreams of My Father, Prison for My Mother: The H-4 Nonimmigrant Visa Dilemma and the Need for an "Immigration-Status Spousal Support"" (2014). Scholarly Works. 1110.