WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman John Rutherford introduced legislation to allow job creators who have been in the U.S. on an E-2 investor treaty visa for more than 10 years to apply for legal permanent residence. The bill, H.R. 3265, would also allow the children of these visa holders to remain in the country until they are 26 and apply for work authorization.
Mauricio Ramirez and Helga Langthon, who live in Jacksonville, came to America in 2001 and transferred to an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa in 2008. They have built a thriving business, SOHO Network Solutions, Inc. SOHO Network Solutions is a woman-owned, minority-owned, Florida-based small business that supplies the law enforcement community with crime scene investigation products in over 55 countries around the world. They have been awarded many prestigious awards, including the “Small Business Exporter of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration, “Exporter of the Year” by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and named the top minority-owned business by Jacksonville Business Journal for six years.
Under current law, Mauricio Ramirez and Helga Langthon are among many E-2 visa holders who come to our communities, open businesses, employ our neighbors, and contribute to our economy, but are not able to apply to become permanent residents – no matter how long they have lived here or how large of a contribution they have made. Additionally, the children of those here on an E-2 visa must leave the country by age 21. This often means families are split up as the children go to another country for school or work, forcing talented children who were often raised in the country to take their talents elsewhere. This is unlike other visa categories that allow a pathway for visa holders to apply for legal permanent residency. H.R. 3265 would create equity among visa holders, and keep job creators and their families in our communities.
Congressman Rutherford said, “E-2 visa holders are entrepreneurs bringing their abilities, resources, and jobs to the United States. They pay taxes and invest their livelihood into the communities they serve. They deserve to be able to plan for their businesses, employees, and especially their families. I want to change this outdated law so they can continue to create jobs and be fully integrated into the communities they have invested so much. This bipartisan legislation is a much needed update to current immigration laws that will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish small businesses and roots in our communities.”
Similar legislation has been introduced in previous Congresses. Representative Ann Kuster (D-NH) is the lead cosponsor on this bipartisan bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
This legislation could help more than 100,000 families and businesses nationally.
To view the bill, click HERE.