Startup visa ruling

President Donald Trump meeting with members of his cabinet Nov. 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. A federal judge ruled Dec. 1 that the International Entrepreneur Rule cannot be delayed, overturning the decision by Homeland Security in July. Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna told India-West earlier: “It was disappointing to see the Trump administration stall implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A U.S. district court judge Dec. 1 ruled that the Trump administration cannot delay the International Entrepreneur Rule, also known as the “Startup Visa.”

The startup visa rule, which was signed into effect in the waning days of the President Barack Obama administration, enables eligible foreign entrepreneurs to temporarily stay in the U.S. to grow their startups. It allowed entrepreneurs to obtain immigration 'parole' to stay in the U.S. without a visa or green card.

The rule allows foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. for two-and-a-half years with the possibility of a similar extension.

It was initially to take effect July 17 but was delayed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security just days before. Homeland announced that it was to be delayed until March 14, 2018, while also stating it hoped to get rid of the rule entirely.

In response to the delay, entrepreneurs in India refuted it could be done, arguing that Homeland Security did not solicit advance comments from the public on the delay, and it violated the clear requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Hardships that the delay caused to the plaintiffs were also pointed out. In addition, they contended that the U.S. would miss out on economic activity generated by these new businesses, according to reports.

District Judge James E Boasberg Dec. 1 ruled that the department should begin accepting applications from foreign entrepreneurs.

According to an earlier report in India-West, several tech entrepreneurs including Indian-origin brothers Atma and Anand Krishna joined a lawsuit filed by the National Venture Capital Association against Homeland Security regarding the refusal to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule.

The rule would have made it easier for Krishnas, who founded payments platform LotusPay, to start businesses in the U.S.

By putting the launching of the rule on hold, it is blocking would-be entrepreneurs from coming to and staying in the U.S. and that decision, according to NVCA's lawsuit, is harming the country’s economy and sending jobs overseas.

“Immigrant entrepreneurs play a vital role in strengthening the U.S. economy, creating new jobs for Americans and pushing the boundaries of innovation,” NVCA president and CEO Bobby Franklin said in a statement. “Rather than throw up roadblocks that prevent them from bringing their talent and ingenuity to our shores, we should welcome them with open arms.”

The Krishnas are launching their platform in India, and hope to expand it into the U.S. But without the option of a startup visa, Anand Krishna will soon have to leave the country, according to the lawsuit. His brother has already left.

“It was disappointing to see the Trump administration stall implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule," U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told India-West in an earlier report. The Indian American congressman represents California's 17th Congressional District that includes the heart of Silicon Valley, a hub for immigrant-led startups.

"Throughout Silicon Valley, immigrants have played a critical role in advancing our region for decades, in addition to being our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors," Khanna added. "Just like I am fighting for my constituents every day in Congress, it is not uncommon for those impacted by Trump’s policies to take further action.”

A third of U.S. venture-backed companies that went public between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant founder, according to a 2013 study by the NVCA, the Mercury News reported.

But the nation is losing its share of global venture capital investment because of its anti-immigrant stance, the NVCA claims, according to the report.

U.S. startups received more than 90 percent of global venture capital investment two decades ago. That number dropped to 81 percent a decade ago, and to 54 percent last year, according to the NVCA release cited in the report.

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