Editor’s note: This story published without seeking comment from the Department of Homeland Security. In a statement after publication, DHS said it is “proposing to remove the regulations because the rule is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs nor does it protect U.S. investors and workers.” The agency added that it “has only received 12 applications for the program.” In addition, DHS said, “The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) already provides for visa classifications that enable certain entrepreneurs to start businesses and work in the United States, such as the E-2 nonimmigrant classification and the EB-5 immigrant classification.”
Late last week the Trump administration took another step toward rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule when the Department of Homeland Security formally issued their notice to kill the rule ahead of comments from the public.
The rule, which was proposed under President Barack Obama and did not require congressional approval, was implemented in December after being delayed by the current administration. It aims to encourage foreign entrepreneurship in the United States by allowing qualified entrepreneurs temporary “parole” in the United States — on a case-by-case basis — so that they can build their businesses. It’s estimated that 3,000 entrepreneurs could take advantage of this rule annually.
So why end something that helps, albeit temporarily, thousands of potential job creators? In its proposal to change the rule the Trump administration says that the program “is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs and does not adequately protect U.S. investors and U.S. workers employed by or seeking employment with the start-up.” In the proposal, which appears in the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security explains that existing visa programs are sufficient to support immigrant entrepreneurs.
“Parole is supposed to be reserved for short-term and emergency purposes,” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies told TechCrunch. “Previous administrations have pushed the envelope on parole, and the Obama administration kicked right through the envelope and claimed that the existence of the parole authority meant that the president could admit anyone.”
The move comes after Congress failed to officially pass “start-up visa” legislation to protect foreigners who launch companies in the United States.
“The start-up and venture community is very disappointed with DHS’s shortsighted decision to turn away American jobs that would be created by the International Entrepreneur Rule,” Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association, said in a statement Friday. “The facts are clear: Our country needs more entrepreneurship, which is exactly what the International Entrepreneur Rule would bring. We will continue to explain to the administration why immigrant entrepreneurship benefits our country and must be supported by policymakers.”
The Department of Homeland Security will be accepting comments on its decision through the end of June.