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Immigration: Entrepreneur parole program at risk of being axed

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released its official rule on July 11, 2017 seeking to delay the implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule or the entrepreneur’s parole program. With the publication of this rule, the effective date of implementation is moved from July 17, 2017 to March 14, 2018.

Entrepreneur Parole Program

At the beginning of this year, the DHS published the International Entrepreneur Final Rule (aka the entrepreneur parole program) with an effectivity date of July 17, 2017. Many startup companies have been looking forward to the implementation of this program as it will attract talented foreign entrepreneurs who are well positioned to advance U.S. businesses.

Most of those who stand to benefit from this program are foreign entrepreneurs who can prove that their knowledge, skills or experience would substantially assist a U.S. entity in conducting and growing its business in the United States.

Parole Authority

The current immigration law allows the DHS to exercise its parole authority under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act if the presence of the paroled non-U.S. citizen would provide a significant public benefit to the United States.

Under the entrepreneur parole program, eligible applicants may be granted a stay of up to 30 months, with the possibility to extend it for a period of up to 30 additional months. Those targeted to receive parole are entrepreneurs who shall work with the start up businesses.

Delaying Its Implementation

The rule that was just recently released reveals that the DHS decided to delay the effective date of the entrepreneur parole program to further consider it in light of the Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (EO13767).

Under this executive order, the DHS Secretary is mandated to take appropriate action to ensure that the parole authority is exercised on a case-to-case basis in accordance with the plain language of the law and that it so demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. It is in this light that the DHS delayed its implementation in order to re-examine the program based on EO 13767.

The rule on entrepreneurs parole program was first published on August 31, 2016 by the DHS and the final rule was published on January 17, 2017. The policy was not finalized without considering comments from the public about the benefit it will bring if implemented.

Approximately 3,000 entrepreneurs were expected to apply for this program. Most of those who are planning to apply are in the tech industry as well as those who are planning to develop new business ventures that will spur economic growth and job creation.

It is sad that the present administration’s perspective is just the opposite. While other nations are inviting foreign entrepreneurs, the United States will be turning them away by delaying implementation of the program (and possibly terminating it altogether).

Many billion-dollar startup companies including Google, Uber and SpaceX were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs. They now hire thousands of U.S. citizens. Obviously, strengthening startup companies, job creation and innovation are a significant public benefit and this entrepreneur parole program should not have been stalled.

(Atty. Lourdes S. Tancinco is a San Francisco based immigration lawyer and immigrant’s right advocate. She may be reached at law@tancinco.com, facebook.com/tancincolaw, or 1 888 930 0808)

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