US - INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW

requested by economic develop- ment promoters throughout the heartland, and it's so "merit- based" that only an estimated 0.00004 percent of the world's population likely would be eligible. Oddly, DHS begins its proposal by saying that it "stands by its pre- vious findings that foreign entre- preneurs make substantial and positive contributions to innova- tion, economic growth, and job creation in the United States" and that "[f]acilitating investment and innovation in the United States is of great importance to our coun- try's ability to lead and remain competitive in the global market- place." Nevertheless, DHS concludes that the International Entrepreneur Rule must die. First, DHS argues that since the program isn't a true visa (which only Congress could create), it doesn't create sufficient certainty for the entrepreneurs and investors who would rely on it. But presumably those entrepreneurs and investors would be the best judges of that, and they have clamored for this program to be enacted. Next, DHS argues that while Congress should create a bona fide "startup visa," in the mean- time entrepreneurs should use other longstanding visa pathways to stay in the United States. Of course, the inaction of Congress and the inadequacy of existing visas are precisely why the International Entrepreneur Rule was developed. And if the Trump administration were sincere in its desire to guide entrepreneurs through existing visa options, per- haps it wouldn't have taken down just such a website early last year. The final argument is the one that might show us the Trump administration's real objective: Even though applicant fees would fund the International Entrepreneur Rule, DHS argues it "will not be able to offset the opportunity costs associated with diverting limited agency resources that are needed to meet the cur- rent Administration's priorities." These priorities include a number of euphemisms for clamping down on legal immigration ("reviewing other existing immigration pro- grams, developing new proposed regulatory changes, and carrying out initiatives to better deter and detect fraud and abuse"). Let's review: The administration didn't claim that the International Entrepreneur Rule is unlawful, or that it will destroy American jobs. The only motivations that ring true are an unwillingness to expend any effort to increase immigration, however modestly, and a desire to stay focused on the administra- tion's major goal of reducing immi- gration. In pursuit of this latter goal, the Trump administration is not wait- ing for an act of Congress. (A White House-backed proposal to reduce legal immigration garnered only 39 votes in the Senate earlier this year.) Killing the International Entrepreneur Rule is one relative- ly small item on an aggressive agenda to deter legal immigrants across the board. Federal agen- cies have already moved to , ramp up denials of skilled worker visas, and all but eliminate refugee admissions. Next up? Preventing gainful employment for up to 100,000 spouses of H-1B workers (pre- dominantly educated Indian women), curtailing post-graduate training for foreign students with science and engineering degrees, and curbing Chinese student visas. Plus a sweeping new policy to deny green cards to immigrants who used nearly any government benefit over the past several years -- or are deemed likely to do so in the future. Departing from a centu- ry of precedent, this one regula- tion could impede millions of immigrants from providing for their U.S. citizen children, block U.S. citizens from sponsoring their par- ents for green cards and even result in the deportation of lawful permanent residents who have committed no crimes. For generations, presidents of both parties have welcomed legal immigrants to America's shores, understanding that our nation's vitality, growth and heritage depend on newcomers with drive, skills and a willingness to sacrifice for their family's future. The admin- istration's efforts to unravel those welcoming policies have only just begun. 20 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JULY-SEPTEMBER 2018 Doug Rand is president & co-founder of Boundless Immigration, and served for 6 years as assistant director for entrepreneurship in President Obama's Office of Science & Technology Policy Stuart Anderson is the executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a public policy research organization focusing on trade, immigration and related issues | This opinion first appeared in bloomberg.com June 14 (via The Washington Post News Service & Syndicate)

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