Hijacking Our Immigration Laws

Press Releases

June 28, 2018

IRLI supports USCIS proposal to end unlawful Obama-era circumvention of visa rules for “entrepreneurs”

WASHINGTON—Today, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a public comment with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in support of the agency’s proposed rule to end the arbitrary and unlawful International Entrepreneur Parole Program and remove its accompanying regulations (IER). If permitted to stand, the IER would allow the government to parole large numbers of self-described “international entrepreneurs” into the United States to set up and work in their own small businesses, without the visas or certifications required by federal law for permanent and temporary employment-based immigrants.

IRLI’s comment supports the agency’s decision to put Americans and the Rule of Law first by ending the IER and argues that Congress never authorized it to create such a program in the first place. “IRLI believes that DHS lacks the authority to parole unadmitted ‘entrepreneurs’ and their spouses into the United States or to grant them work authorization based on their status as IER parolees,” the comment reads. “The scope and content of the IER would extend so egregiously beyond the comprehensive statutory scheme, which regulates both entry under parole and immigration based on employment or entrepreneurial activity, that rescission is the only viable administrative option,” IRLI concludes.

IRLI has been fighting the Obama-era program as unlawful under federal immigration law and the Administrative Procedure Act—which protects the public against executive actions that have not been authorized by Congress—since it was first announced in late 2016. Obama’s DHS published a final version of the rule just three days before President Trump took office, making the rule effective July 17, 2017. On July 11, under President Trump, DHS published a final rule with request for comments to delay the effective date of the IER to March 14, 2018. Nevertheless, the business-first lobby sued and on December 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the July 11, 2017 rule, effectively requiring DHS to accept applications under the program. See Nat’l Venture Capital Ass’n v. Duke, No. 17–1912, 2017 WL 5990122 (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2017). At every step of the way, IRLI has filed public comments and amicus briefs calling on the Trump Administration and the courts to remove the unlawful program.

“Federal immigration law already provides temporary and permanent avenues for so-called ‘entrepreneurs’ to enter the United States. Hijacking the parole program for such a purpose is both unlawful and a slap in the face to the hardworking Americans it would harm by creating uncertainty in the job market,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI executive director and general counsel. “The IER is nothing more than a reminder of the Obama Administration’s constant abuse and obfuscation of our immigration laws and it is time the IER is thrown out.”

USCIS published its latest proposed rule in the Federal Register on May 29, 2018. See Removal of International Entrepreneur Parole Program, DHS Docket No. USCIS-2015-0006, 83 Fed. Reg. 24415.

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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