On Friday, a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration can’t delay the implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule.
The regulation, penned under former President Barack Obama, created special provisions for foreign-born businessmen. It grants alien entrepreneurs who employ American citizens visa-free entry to the United States.
Individuals admitted under the provision would be allowed to stay on American soil for up to 30 months. Once that time elapses, they could apply for another 30-month extension.
Originally intended to take effect in July, the Trump administration ordered an implementation delay until March 2018. The National Association of Venture Capitalists – along with other pro-immigration and pro-business advocacy groups – sued the federal government, requesting that the courts order the rule effective immediately.
On Friday, the U.S. Court for Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of the NAVC and its allies.
Canada, France, and a handful of other countries have laws or regulations similar to the International Entrepreneur Rule, and designed with the same intent – encouraging foreign investors and businessmen to inject capital into the local economy.
As part of his Friday ruling, Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the Department of Homeland Security to “dispense with its delay” and begin accepting applications from individuals hoping to enter the United States in accordance with the rule.
“This decision is an important reminder that this administration must comply with the law and allow the public to have a voice during the agency rule-making process,” said Leslie K. Dellon, a staff attorney for the American Immigration Council.
CNN reports that the Department of Homeland Security may not have only wanted to delay the rule – there’s some speculation they’d hoped to rescind it entirely. Over the summer, the DHS announced it’d push back implementation until March. The agency also requested that members of the public provide feedback on whether or not to “eliminate the program” outright.
“This is not good immigration policy and not good for entrepreneurs or our nation as a whole, particularly given that so many working Americans are looking for job opportunities,” complained a spokeswoman for the American Immigration Lawyers Association in July.
The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to delay implementation was criticized by several Silicon Valley heavyweights, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.