The Department of Homeland Security on August 26 issued a new rule making it possible for what might be called "inept entrepreneurs" to secure additional temporary legal status in the United States.
There appears to be no upper limit to this latest stretch and abuse of the government's parole authority and it is designed for a subset of entrepreneurs who have some entrepreneurial credentials, but who are not smart enough, or do not have a lawyer smart enough, to secure admission to the United States under the set of laws, regulations, and administrative flourishes now existing.
Entrepreneurs are not supposed to be hopeless waifs who cannot figure out how to do what they want to do. They are supposed to be stand-on-their-own-two-feet businessmen and women who have bright ideas, and know how to operate in a given society. They are not members of the various classes of victims that we admit in largish numbers (refugees, asylees, crime victims, and some parolees).
If the entrepreneur is worth his or her salt, that person will be able to use one or more of the multitude of immigration provisions for smart people, and for rich people, and particularly those for smart rich people.
The immigration process can be viewed as a sort of IQ test for such people; if they can't figure it out they should not be allowed to stay in the United States.
The use of the word "stay" above is deliberate. This program is not for able business people who live in other countries, it is for aliens who have already been in the United States for several years and who want to (and apparently have failed to) figure out how our immigration system works, hence my term, inept. I will get back to that point momentarily.
But first, let's back up a bit. The parole authority is for very special circumstances. For example, someone has an acute and unusual brain injury that can be fixed only in a U.S. hospital, not the ones in the home country; or, to use a different example, the person is needed to testify in a U.S. court case. It is not intended to cover whole classes of people.
There is already a large collection of programs that could be used by a reasonably competent entrepreneur with a little imagination and one or more of these could be manipulated to secure a visa, though not all of the programs would benefit all of the entrepreneurs. There are the EB-5 immigrant investor program, the treaty trader and treaty investor programs, various loopholes in the H and L visa programs, some uses of the J-1 program, the O visas for the outstanding, the first and second parts of the Employment-Based Immigrant Programs, and I am sure others that I have missed.
So the proposal is both needless and yet another effort by the administration to open every conceivable hole in the immigration control system. Clearly one million new immigrants every year — not counting the illegal aliens and exploited foreign workers who come in droves — is not enough and one must create new classes to add to the millions already arriving.
As to the current location of the would-be beneficiaries, this program is more of a specialized amnesty than anything else. Here are, verbatim, the qualifications; it is for aliens:
Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:
Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;
Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state or local government entities; or
Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity's substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
Note the second requirement that they be operating a start-up that is already in the United States and has been here for up to three years. Clearly these business people have been in the United States for a while with some kind of visa, and have not been able to figure out what to do next.
Do we need to extend the legal presence of bumblers like this? I don't think so.