The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) has filed a motion in federal court designed to determine whether the Trump administration is complying with a court order to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule.
Last September, NVCA along with entrepreneurs and startups sued the federal government for illegally delaying implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). The rule allows immigrant founders to receive parole—or a temporary stay— in the U.S. to build their startups.
In December, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting applications under the rule. DHS oversees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which decides petitions for entrepreneur parole.
After that federal ruling, NVCA filed entrepreneur parole applications on behalf of three startup founders. In its motion, NVCA states those applications have not been processed. The filing also cited USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna’s letter to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he stated that no entrepreneur parole requests had been approved. Moreover, a USCIS spokesman stated foreign-born entrepreneurs should “consult an immigration attorney and find an alternative vehicle” to entrepreneur parole. For these reasons, NVCA is “concerned” that “USCIS is not processing IER applications in good faith.”
Only 10 people have applied for entrepreneur parole, according to Bloomberg. The Obama administration, which finalized the IER days before leaving office, had expected nearly 3,000 applications annually under the rule. The rule allows qualified foreign entrepreneurs to receive parole—or a temporary stay in the U.S.—while building their startups.
Meanwhile, DHS has started the official process of dismantling the IER. The DHS proposal to rescind the rule received approval earlier this month from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). DHS is expected to publish the proposal in the Federal Register shortly. Once published, the public will have at least 30 days to comment.
Following the comment period, DHS could make changes to the rule based on public input. DHS must then submit the final rule to OIRA for review. If OIRA approves the final rule, it would be published in the Federal Register along with the effective date.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team is closely monitoring the status of the International Entrepreneur Rule. Given the uncertainty of the rule’s future, contact us for a consultation about immigration options. We support immigration for innovation. Other immigration options may be available to you.