An Obama administration initiative intended to encourage foreigners to immigrate to the United States and build their own companies has come to a halt this week, after President Trump has implemented a delay that is expected to end in a full cancellation.
Obama’s Homeland Security Department published the “International Entrepreneur Notice of Proposed Rule” on August, 31, 2016, and then published the “final rule” on January 17, 2017, just three days before Obama left office.
The program, intended to take effect July 17, 2017, would allow immigrants who wanted to build or invest in startup companies in the US to be awarded “parole,” which included a work permit and special legal status, with the ability to eventually obtain citizenship.
The Obama administration had anticipated that the special “parole” would benefit about 3,000 foreign entrepreneurs each year.
The Washington Times noted that the investment requirement was low, with only 10 percent of companies investing just $250,000 in capital in order to qualify, and then they only had to prove they had created at least five jobs in order to be renewed in the program.
Monday, Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department issued a notice saying they are delaying the foreign entrepreneur rule until March 14, 2018:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is temporarily delaying the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Final Rule (82 FR 5238). This delay will provide DHS with an opportunity to obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13767, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.”
It is eventually expected to be cancelled completely, as Citizenship and Immigration Services are already overwhelmed and don’t have time to take on a new immigration program and the burden of vetting and granting permits.
If DHS does not delay the effective date immediately, USCIS would be required to expend limited agency resources to implement the IE Final Rule. Those resources are otherwise needed for USCIS to effectively and efficiently carry out its many existing immigration benefit programs facilitating lawful migration into United States. For example, implementing the program would require USCIS to establish a new business line for the processing of entrepreneur parole applications, hiring and training additional adjudicators, modifying intake and case management information technology systems, modifying application and fee intake contracts, developing guidance for the adjudicators, and communicating with the public.
Additionally, the DHS said since they are proposing to eliminate the rule anyway, it does not make sense to let it go into effect now:
Given that DHS will be proposing to rescind the IE final rule, and may ultimately eliminate the program, the expenditure of these resources is unlikely to ever be recouped from filing fees under the new program. USCIS derives approximately 96 percent of its operating budget from fees, and would be required to absorb the costs of the IE program within its existing operating budget, possibly impacting efficiency and effectiveness in other programs. An inefficient use of limited resources is not conducive to the security and economic interests of the United States. Therefore, it is necessary for DHS to immediately suspend the effective date of the IE Final Rule.
Immigrant-rights groups are already protesting the decision. Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, an immigrant rights group established by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, stated, “This is unquestionably a setback for the United States in the global race for talent – we should be encouraging innovators to bring their new ideas, expertise, and unique skills to our country, rather than incentivizing them to put their talents to work for our competitors abroad.”
— FWD.us (@FWD_us) July 11, 2017
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