Several weeks ago, the Trump Administration said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would end the “International Entrepreneur Rule” for startups with immigrant founders. As a result, the Fashion Innovation Alliance, Parsons, the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator and the Fashion Law Institute submitted joint comments to DHS requesting that the rule be kept in place.
Kenya N. Wiley, founder and chief executive officer of the Fashion Innovation Alliance, told WWD that “while immigrant rights groups have focused on DACA and other immigration policy issues, we also believe it’s important to raise awareness of other immigration programs at risk that impact fashion and tech — including the International Entrepreneur Rule.”
The DHS could not be reached for comment.
Wiley said the comments are intended to “provide the perspective from the lens of international students and entrepreneurs integrating fashion, design and technology.” Without these students and entrepreneurs, the coalition said the U.S. would not benefit from their skills and expertise.
“Many U.S. investors, accelerator programs and enterprise companies look to innovation and creative ideas from startups integrating design and technology,” the coalition noted in its comments, adding that integration of design and technology is driving the global fashion industry. “However, if these startups cannot make long-term plans due to uncertain immigration policies, it will become more difficult for the United States to benefit from the innovation and expertise of creative international entrepreneurs.”
Wiley and the coalition described international students and immigrant entrepreneurs as a “cornerstone” of not only boosting the U.S. economy, but also “building authentic inclusivity.”
“The inclusiveness and cross-disciplinary exchange of international students in art, design and technology not only helps to harness the creativity of the startup ecosystem globally, but it also leads to new collaborations and advancements benefiting the U.S. economy as a whole,” the coalition said in its comments to the DHS. “However, without a clear path for immigrant entrepreneurs, such as the International Entrepreneur Rule, investors and recent graduates of cutting-edge cross-disciplinary programs will look outside the United States for opportunities.”