Homeland Security Dept. announces intent to dismantle rule aimed at bringing foreign entrepreneurs to US
The White House on Monday officially delayed an immigration rule commonly referred to as a “startup visa” that allows foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. to start companies.
The administration of President Donald Trump stated its intention to dismiss the rule -- a move that was harshly criticized by venture capitalists and others in Silicon Valley.
The International Entrepreneur Rule allows certain foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. for up to five years if they can prove they will provide certain benefits for the country, mainly job growth. Enforced on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the rule was passed in the final months of former President Barack Obama’s tenure.
Now, the DHS says it is delaying the implementation of the rule, set to take effect July 17, due to an alleged conflict with an Executive Order Trump signed in January that directed the DHS and other executive agencies to build a physical border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“The Department of Homeland Security is temporarily delaying the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Final Rule,” said the official notice released by the DHS.
The agency said the rule would now go into effect March 14, 2018, but it is seeking public comment about its intention to rescind the rule entirely before that time.
Many in the technology industry sharply criticized the about-face in DHS policy.
“Today’s announcement is extremely disappointing and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical role immigrant entrepreneurs play in growing the next generation of American companies,” said Bobby Franklin, the chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association, in a statement. “At a time when countries around the world are doing all they can to attract and retain talented individuals to come to their shores to build and grow innovative companies, the Trump Administration is signaling its intent to do the exact opposite.”
Studies show tat immigration is deeply connected to America’s start-up culture. A report last month by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council found more than half of U.S. startups valued above $1 billion, often called “unicorns”, were founded by immigrants.
“Trump officially delays ‘startup visa’ rule,” tweeted Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL. “Big mistake. Immigrant entrepreneurs are job makers, not job takers.”