Tech Industry Scores Big Win on “Startup Visa” Rule

The National Venture Capital Association won a victory in court last week after a federal judge found the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act in announcing a last-minute delay on a rule intended to let foreign entrepreneurs work in the United States.

An Obama-era rule designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to enter the United States will get to live another day, thanks to a court ruling favoring the National Venture Capital Association last week.

NVCA is one of the strongest advocates of the International Entrepreneur Rule, a measure implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during President Barack Obama’s final months in office. The rule, often called a “startup visa” though actually a form of discretionary parole, is intended to make it possible for foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. while building their companies—a period of up to 30 months.

However, the Trump administration has taken steps toward rescinding the rule, including by delaying its implementation earlier this year, just six days before the rule was supposed to take effect. NVCA strongly opposed this effort by the administration and in September filed a lawsuit to try to block DHS’ move to delay.

Elections have consequences. But when it comes to federal agencies, the Administrative Procedure Act shapes the contours of those consequences.

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

Last week, Judge James Boasberg of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia favored the association’s stance on the issue, finding that the delay and its last-minute announcement violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which allows time for a public comment period.

“Elections have consequences. But when it comes to federal agencies, the Administrative Procedure Act shapes the contours of those consequences,” Boasberg wrote in his decision [PDF].

Boasberg ordered the agency to implement the rule without a delay, something NVCA applauded.

“Today marks a significant victory for talented foreign entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the U.S. economy,” Franklin said in a news release issued Friday. “The facts speak for themselves—the U.S. economy has long thrived on the contributions and innovations of immigrant entrepreneurs, and we are a better country as a result.”

(leekris/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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