Trump administration seeks to end Obama-era program that favored foreign entrepreneurs

As Congress slow-walks and the courts slow-down much-needed immigration reforms, the Trump administration continues to utilize its regulatory powers to disassemble programs created during the Obama administration that effectively undermined U.S. immigration laws.

The latest target is the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), a regulation which gives “parole” to foreign entrepreneurs who would otherwise be ineligible to “temporarily” enter the country to build start-up businesses.

Yesterday, DHS posted its proposal in the Federal Register to eliminate the special allowance arguing that the rule represents an overly broad interpretation of parole authority, does not have sufficient protections for American workers, and is prone to abuse. The public has 30 days to comment.

Jeh Johnson, Obama’s DHS Secretary, cited the authority granted under Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the INA of the Immigration and Naturalization Act to give parole “only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”

The “case-by-case” restriction was purposefully included in 1996 to address years of abuse of the parole authority “under which whole classes of favored aliens who didn’t qualify” under existing refugee or other visa programs gained a foothold in the U.S., noted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a 2016 letter to Johnson.

Because the new rule would permit an “unlimited number of people” who could satisfy the parole criteria” into the U.S., Grassley stated it was “without question unlawful.”

To those who view U.S. immigration law as an obstruction to financial gain or furtherance of their special interests, the question of legality is a side issue.

So it is no surprise that the open border chorus has chimed in on DHS’s proposal.

Steve Case, CEO of Revolution and founder of America Online, sang the same tune, writing in Inc. bringing in foreign entrepreneurs “has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs” for those in the heartland and in the “nascent startup ecosystems located beyond traditional startup hubs.”, the group co-founded by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, claimed to be “deeply disappointed by the Department of Homeland Security’s continued failure to drive economic growth through the International Entrepreneur Rule.”

In a statement, President Todd Schulte claimed without evidence that the decision “will mean fewer immigrants and a lot fewer American jobs” and maintained it was counter to the administration’s “previously-stated commitment to working with technology leaders to expand the American economy.”

Of course, nothing was mentioned about a commitment to uphold U.S. immigration laws and provide American workers (and entrepreneurs) a level playing field.

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  1. avatar

    On a related topic by Bill Gertz:


    A senior U.S. counterintelligence official recently said publicly what many officials and experts have been warning privately for years: China is using its large student population in the United States to spy.
    Bill Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, a DNI agency, said recently that China poses a broad-ranging foreign intelligence threat that includes the use of academics, students, cyberespionage and human agents to steal secrets from the government and private sectors.

    “I look at the China threat from a counterintelligence perspective as a whole-of-government threat by China against us,” Mr. Evanina told a conference last week at The Aspen Institute.

    Mr. Evanina said the Trump administration is more engaged in counterintelligence than the Obama administration, based on the fact that many current leaders had more experience in the private sector. A particular concern driving greater counterespionage against China is Beijing’s spending of $80 billion annually on investment in the United States, he said.

    “I believe our administration now, due to the makeup, is more interested in that number and how that impacts across the U.S. country than the previous administration,” Mr. Evanina said. “If the Chinese government is buying up key aspects of our critical infrastructure and our technology base, is that a long-term national security threat for our country? I believe it is.”

    Michelle Van Cleave, a former counterintelligence official, testified to a House subcommittee earlier this month that China poses the most significant threat to steal advanced American technology from universities and other research centers.

    “It’s not just that there are a lot of Chinese nationals working in American companies or laboratories, or studying or teaching at American universities, picking up whatever happens to come their way,” Ms. Van Cleave said. “No. As the Defense Department has reported, China has a government-directed, multifaceted secret program whose primary task is technology acquisition.”

    Michael Wessel, chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, also told Congress that China in 2006 launched two programs seeking to recruit up to 4,000 foreign specialists, mainly among ethnic Chinese, in such programs as “Project 111” and “Thousand Talents Program.”

    Mr. Wessel said about 20 percent of the staff at the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) Lab at the University of California Berkeley, which conducts research in advanced machine learning, are Chinese nationals.