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More Than 100 Leading Economists Oppose Department of Homeland Security Move to Rescind International Entrepreneur Rule

New Research Finds Implementing IER Program Would Create Up To 429,000 Jobs in the United States Over 10 Years, Up To $18.5 Billion in Economic Activity

New York, NY — As the Trump Administration moves to dismantle a program known as the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), more than 100 leading economists have issued a statement in opposition to the decision, citing new data about the program’s potential economic impact.

Published in 2017, the IER is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulatory measure that allows potential foreign-born business owners who show exceptional promise and solid capital investment to settle in the United States for an initial period of two and a half years. To extend beyond that, such firms must have achieved demonstrable success, specifically by raising at least $500,000 in additional funding, generating that much in annual business revenue, or creating at least five full-time American jobs. Under the Trump Administration, DHS first delayed the implementation of the rule, and then later announced its intent to rescind the rule altogether.

Organized by New American Economy, Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, and Benjamin Harris of Cherrydale Strategies, more than 100 economists have signed an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security in opposition to the proposal to rescind the IER, arguing that, “Cutting off a pathway for immigrant entrepreneurs to legally come to the United States to start businesses would hamper economic growth and lead to fewer job opportunities for Americans.”

In conjunction with the open letter, which was submitted directly to DHS through the public comment process, New American Economy released a new research brief, Opportunity Lost: The Cost of Rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule, finding that:

  • Based on the minimum requirements of the International Entrepreneur Rule, at least 135,240 jobs would be created in the United States over the next 10 years if the rule were implemented
  • Based on the U.S. average for job growth per firm, as many as 176,939 jobs would be created over the next 10 years
  • Based on DHS’s own estimates on industry distribution of IER firms, of which approximately 85 percent would be technology or STEM-related, as many as 429,714 jobs would be created over the next 10 years
  • The combined direct and indirect effects of the IER on the U.S. economy would create anywhere from $5.8 billion to $18.5 billion in economic activity over the next 10 years

“Turning away talent and new companies will cost our economy dearly,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “America should be rolling out the red carpet for immigrant entrepreneurs, not sending them away to our competitors.”

“This letter is evidence that there is widespread support among economists for immigration policies that welcome innovators and job creators from around the world as part of an economic growth strategy,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum, Former Director of the Congressional Budget Office. “Rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule is not in our economic interest and will have real consequences for American job-seekers.”

“The evidence that immigrants are a key part of America’s entrepreneurship, technology, and STEM sectors is abundantly clear,” said Benjamin Harris, Former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, Cherrydale Strategies Founder and President. “By closing off the pathway offered through the International Entrepreneur Rule, the U.S. is turning away invaluable high-potential job creators.”

Read the letter and see a list of the signatories here.

Read the full research brief here.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…