Entrepreneur Parole – More Loose Standards and Weak Vetting


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the finalization of its “International Entrepreneur Parole” program. USCIS characterizes the program as an effort “to improve the ability of certain promising start-up founders to begin growing their companies within the United States and help improve our nation’s economy through increased capital spending, innovation and job creation.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going to allow wealthy foreigners to buy their way into the United States. Ostensibly, these “international entrepreneurs” will be allowed in to tend to investments that help build the U.S. economy. But the program lacks any controls designed to ensure that money is invested in either promising startups or any other business that is likely to create jobs and drive innovation. Furthermore, USCIS is not set up to do the type of forensic accounting and financial analysis that are necessary to properly vet immigration applicants whose requests for entry depends on complex investment transactions.

While it claims to be a program to aid U.S. businesses, the International Entrepreneur Parole rubric is just another example of DHS abusing its parole authority to appeal to special interest groups. The narrow authority to parole aliens into the United States is granted to DHS by statute. Specifically, “parole is used sparingly to bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency.” (Emphasis added.) It was never intended to enable the Executive Branch to circumvent the legislative process and create new immigration programs by pre-approving broad classes of aliens for parole.

Nevertheless, DHS has a long history of granting parole en masse to large groups of foreign nationals. And this program, like the others, unlawfully expands the classes of persons to which parole may be granted. The current restrictions on the use of parole were enacted in direct response to Executive abuse of the parole authority. Clearly, the Executive Branch did not get the message.

The notion that the U.S. is suffering a compelling economic emergency that justifies paroling foreign investors into the United States is farcical. Moreover, this program does not provide any long term benefit to anyone. It allows foreign investors to enter in a non-status, with no guarantee that they will be allowed to stay; and it doesn’t require the lengthy commitment of the very large amounts of capital required to drive innovation and economic growth.

In other words, it just creates more of the same confusion generated by the Obama administration’s irresponsible Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It was only a short time after the DACA rollout that Americans discovered they had been sold a bill of goods. Along with the “teenage valedictorians” the Obama administration and its allies like to parade before news cameras, the program granted deferred action to many adult criminals and gang members. How long will it be before the American public discovers – to its detriment – that yet another reckless expansion of discretionary immigration authority has allowed special interests to trump public safety? Only this time, the violators are much more likely to be the types of sophisticated malefactors that turn prosecutors’ hair white: fraudsters, money launderers, and white collar criminals.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.

1 Comment

  1. avatar

    Well, interesting…..the best to doing it is to start hiring here first and kick all the international contracting companies that bring their own to take the jobs and leave and take the money w/them