USCIS: “DHS Proposes to Remove the International Entrepreneur Rule”

by Joseph McKeown


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a rule that would end the Obama-era International Entrepreneur Rule (IE Final Rule), which allows certain foreign entrepreneurs to be considered for parole to come temporarily to the US to develop and build companies. To qualify, entrepreneurs must demonstrate that they would provide a significant public benefit with rapid job growth and creation by submitting substantial evidence including proof of significant capital investment from US investors with established records of successful investments, or if they have obtained significant awards or grants from specific federal, state, or local governments. The parole would provide these entrepreneurs temporary stay of up to thirty months, with the option to extend an additional thirty months, so that the entrepreneur can oversee the company’s growth in the US.

DHS says that they are eliminating the rule because they believe “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.” Last July, the Trump administration published a rule to delay the effective date of the IE Final Rule to March 14, 2018 in order to give DHS adequate time to draft a rescission of the rule. 

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), a trade group, sued the DHS over their postponement of this rule and a federal court ordered DHS to begin accepting entrepreneur parole applications under the IE Final Rule. A US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) spokesman says that the agency “has received approximately 12 applications for the IE program, but has not yet issued any final decisions.” NVCA filed a motion in federal court to determine whether USCIS “has adopted any policies or practices” that potentially circumvent the court ruling, arguing that DHS has “failed to take action” regarding the applications.

DHS states that after reviewing parole programs in light of the Executive Order titled "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements" signed by President Trump in January of 2017, DHS concludes that the rule has “created a complex and highly-structured program that was best established by the legislative process rather than relying on an unorthodox use of the Secretary’s authority to ‘temporarily’ parole, in a categorical way, aliens based on ‘significant public benefit.’” USCIS also claims that such visa classifications as the E-2 nonimmigrant visa and the EB-5 immigrant visa already provide certain entrepreneurs the ability to start a business and work in the US. 

Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, a nonprofit group that advocates for pro-immigration policies and was founded by tech executives that include Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, strongly disagrees with ending the rule: “Eliminating this vital policy is a clear step in the wrong direction that will hurt job creation and middle-class wage growth in the United States.”