Executive Orders on Entrepreneurship — A letter to immigrant entrepreneurs

Below is the letter we sent to our portfolio founders on Sunday, January 29, 2017. If helpful, please share with other immigrant entrepreneurs in your network. There are two referenced documents

  1. An overview of what we know thus far on EO “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
  2. A White Paper titled “Keeping America Strong” with our support of policies that could create more American Dreams.

Dear Founders -

As you have surely seen, the Trump Administration is now more than a week old, and Executive Orders are flying off the President’s desk. In particular, an EO signed on January 27, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” impacts immigrant entrepreneurs. Over the past 48 hours, we have seen a lot of information from the media, federal courts, White House and the Department of Homeland Security trying to clarify this order.

Here is an overview of what we know and our recommendation. In short, we recommend that you refrain from traveling outside the U.S. if you happen to be citizens of any of the seven designated countries or have travelled to any of these countries. The overview will provide more information on specific visa types.

If you are affected by this, please reach out to us immediately and our attorneys are available-on-call to support you. There are numerous options available for positive outcomes. We are actively working with the larger community.

Second, we believe this leaked document may become a second EO against high-skilled immigrants in the coming week. In summary, this proposed EO suggests reversing some of President Obama’s EOs on immigration, including the H4 EAD, DACA EAD, and International Entrepreneur Parole. For those that believe they can be affected by any of these changes, we suggest you reach out to us, so we can be proactive in our support. These EOs highlight the importance of what we have created together thus far and how we must continue forward.

A few comments to keep in mind while you read the leaked EO:

  1. The International Entrepreneur Parole ruling was never implemented, thus, the impact of reversing this ruling is minimal. This reversal was expected (we recognized the possibility) and less consequential than the decision of Matter of Dhanasar, a NIW precedent decision, which helps qualified international entrepreneurs significantly. Precedent decisions are binding on DHS employees in all future proceedings involving the same issue or issues.
  2. The reference to the H1B and L1 visas as criticizing the abuse of those by outsourcing companies, and American companies that bring in the “low-tech” workers. We have published a white paper supporting this argument and believe the major outsourcing companies are actively preparing for this — listen to their earnings calls. We hope this will open up wider distribution and more options for H-1B visa employment.
  3. The H2B likely refers to a better system for short-term agricultural workers, or as we call it “guest-workers”. We don’t see this affecting any of you today.
  4. The B1 reference will likely clarify what foreign employees can (and cannot) do when they enter. As an example, if you are currently living in India, and working for an Indian company, you can enter as a visitor to do “work” under certain circumstances. This is another way lawyers have skirted the immigration laws. But re-defining this will likely help international entrepreneurs legally here. This is a common practice done by immigrant founders attending other incubators and accelerators, which we have advised against from day 0.

We know these orders can make people feel angered, helpless and in many cases, scared. It is natural when we don’t know what is actually going to happen — and we are with you. While the dust settles and clarification emerges, we encourage you to remain focused on your American Dream. At Unshackled, we will do the same with you, and remain steadfast in our support of great immigrant entrepreneurs — those currently and prospectively in our portfolio. We will not stop helping immigrant founders succeed faster and will continue to march towards creating 100,000 American jobs. This is how we stand for a way forward.

These are unprecedented times — we are available 24/7 if you have questions.

Manan Mehta & Nitin Pachisia