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Why startup visas are good for America

As immigrant rights groups and activists continue to fight for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or...

Posted: Jun 3, 2018 11:25 AM
Updated: Jun 3, 2018 11:25 AM

As immigrant rights groups and activists continue to fight for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, another Obama-era immigration policy is quietly being dismantled by the Trump administration. The International Entrepreneur Rule, also known as the "startup visa," which gives immigrants the chance to start businesses in the United States, now has an uncertain future.

The startup visa program was set to go into effect in July. But, just days before its implementation, the Department of Homeland Security abruptly decided to push back the program's start date to March to give US Citizenship and Immigration Services time to review, and possibly cancel, the program.

The delay prompted the National Venture Capital Association, entrepreneurs and startup companies to file a lawsuit against DHS in September, which resulted in a federal court ruling that the program must be implemented in December. Now, however, DHS has proposed to repeal it altogether.

The startup visa was intended to allow a path for immigrant startup founders to work in the United States for 2- years, with the possibility to renew. It was structured to include criteria ensuring that immigrant startup founders permitted to work here would provide a "significant public benefit" to the United States, requiring proof of capital investment from US investors and job creation. But beyond the concrete benefits reaped through the program are the intangible cultural advantages that create thriving companies and foster innovative thought.

Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords common to many companies' public relations campaigns. But real progress in diversity and inclusion involves more than head counts for race and gender; it takes into account geography, culture and the specialized knowledge and skills of people with diverse backgrounds. Immigrant founders are a cornerstone of building this authentic inclusion.

As founder of the Fashion Innovation Alliance, I've experienced firsthand the benefits of working with startups and enterprise companies from around the globe. The inclusiveness and cross-disciplinary exchange typical of the innovative companies I've worked with in fashion, tech and retail not only help harness creativity, but they also lead to investments and technological advancements that drive the global economy. Winning company culture of this kind is more easily achieved when US immigration policy reflects these values.

Billion dollar startups founded by immigrant entrepreneurs continue to help advance the US economy, but immigrant entrepreneurs have also played a key role in helping enterprise companies expand and remain relevant in the current tech revolution.

Neutrogena's partnership with artificial intelligence startup FitSkin is a case in point. As more global beauty brands integrate tech tools to increase sales, FitSkin's Canadian founder is helping Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena brand stay competitive in the beauty innovation market.

The companies co-developed a mobile app and phone accessory duo that collects and compiles data on consumers' skin to provide personalized skin care regimen guidance. Though Neutrogena is already a well-established company, a clear visa path for international entrepreneurs will facilitate future collaborations that can bring fresh ideas to American startups in their infancies. The startup visa program paves that path.

When the startup visa delay was announced in July, I reached out to an immigration attorney and asked if she planned to submit public comments in opposition to the program's delay. She wasn't sure if the comments would have any effect on the Trump administration's decision, but nevertheless, I knew it was important for those who knew the benefit of international collaboration to make our opinions known.

Activism can take many different forms -- from organized protests and rallies to public participation via submitting comments on proposed rule changes. For the health of innovation in the United States, it is critical that our voices are heard, and that we follow up and keep pushing until we effect real change. The future of American startups depends on it.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5656118
DeSoto368031
Harrison253036
Madison244368
Rankin229235
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Forrest182056
Washington168942
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Scott100320
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Yazoo83312
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Simpson80330
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Smith40613
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Jasper3889
Itawamba37510
Tippah36713
Tunica3517
Clarke32626
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3228
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Humphreys29411
Quitman2701
Carroll26111
Greene25512
Perry2437
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Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21113
Stone2055
Sharkey1995
Jefferson1957
Benton1431
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena262
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
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Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
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St. Clair135418
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Escambia108717
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Jackson10144
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Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
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Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
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Lawrence3512
Macon33914
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