Aug 3, 2017

Investors, startups press DHS to keep foreign founder visas

Alex Brandon / AP

The National Venture Capital Association led a coalition of investors, startups and tech industry groups to urge the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider its plan to scrap an Obama administration rule allowing foreign entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. to start companies.

What's happening: The so-called International Entrepreneur Rule was supposed to go into effect last month, but the Trump administration delayed the effective date until next March and signaled its plans to formally eliminate it. The tech and investment community are now making a last-ditch effort to urge DHS to use the extra time to prepare to accept applications.

Why it matters: Tensions between the tech industry and Trump are flaring again over the immigration issue.

  • Scrapping visas for foreign founders was a blow to the tech community, which also came out against the White House-backed bill to significantly cut legal immigration and move to a merit-based system.
  • While the letter itself isn't likely to sway the administration's opinion on the issue, public input is an important part of the formal process used to rescind agency rules, FWD.us just set up Save the International Entrepreneur Rule, a site where individuals can submit public comments to DHS by the Aug. 10 deadline.

Key argument: "Keeping in place the International Entrepreneur Rule would further President Trump's goal of spreading economic prosperity to areas of the country in desperate need of new jobs," the groups wrote in a letter to DHS, arguing that the rule "will allow the world's best entrepreneurs to create jobs in our country, rather than overseas where they will then compete with American workers and companies."

Signers of the letter include venture capitalists, such as Steve Case, and startup groups including Engine and Tech:NYC.

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