Update: On May 25, 2018, DHS proposed to eliminate the IE Final Rule because the department believes that it represents an overly broad interpretation of parole authority, lacks sufficient protections for U.S. workers and investors, and is not the appropriate vehicle for attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs. Read the notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register.
The International Entrepreneur Rule is a piece of proposed legislation by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to encourage the immigration of foreign entrepreneurs into the United States. Courts finalized the rule, which was set to go into effect on July 17, 2017 – until the Trump administration passed an order delaying its initiation. The White House aims to eventually shut down the rule altogether in the face of tumultuous immigration laws and bans.
The International Entrepreneur Rule first appeared in the Immigration Accountability Executive Action in November 2014 under the Obama administration. With this rule, the U.S. would grant temporary parole to certain foreign entrepreneurs who want to enter the country with the goal of building businesses. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would regularly monitor their progress and decide whether they meet the criteria to remain in the country. The rule would result in an close-to 3,000 qualified immigrants entering the U.S. every year.
Supporters of the International Entrepreneur Rule believed it would create jobs in the country and add a distinct public benefit, thanks to bright, entrepreneurial minds from around the world. Several studies show the benefits of allowing entrepreneur immigrants into the country outweigh the costs. For example, immigrants founded or co-founded 44 U.S. startups that were worth at least $1 billion in 2016. The potential positive impact of foreign entrepreneurs on the U.S. economy put many in support of the bill – especially tech companies that rely heavily on immigrant business owners and startups.
On July 10, the Department of Homeland Security made an announcement that officially delayed the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Rule. The DHS stated that the delay would give it the chance to gather comments from the American public regarding a proposal to completely rescind the rule. Per the announcement, the effective date for the rule has moved to March 14, 2018. The DHS is inviting written comments regarding the rule via the website http://www.regulations.gov as well as via mail to the USCIS.
The delay to the rule comes after President Trump’s January 2017 executive order, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. This order requested improvements to border security and more stringent immigration law enforcement. After a review of the order, the DHS made the decision to delay the effective date of the Immigration Entrepreneur Rule with one exception. The exception comes in the form of the Department of State Consular Report of Birth Abroad provision.
The DHS states that it has “good cause” to immediately delay and possibly rescind the rule without waiting for comment because “notice and comment rule-making would go against public interest.” The Department stated in the announcement that any action other than immediately delaying the effective date could waste limited agency resources and create regulatory confusion. The announcement sparked considerable controversy, especially among business leaders and organizations in the technology sector.
The future of the rule is at stake due to the federal government’s intention to eliminate it altogether. As of today, the International Entrepreneur Rule is on hold until at least March 2018. Between then and now, the Trump administration will continue taking public comments under consideration.