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E-2 business visa has unwelcome catch for Missouri family

Last month, we wrote about a young woman who faces deportation after spending most of her life in the United States. The young woman left England at a young age with her parents, who had a visa to start a business in this country. The problem is that the young woman turns 21-years-old this week, which means no longer stay on her parents' visa.

The young woman's family came to the United States in 1995 to manage a hotel and restaurant. They entered the country on an E-2 visa, which allowed them to bring their children. However, children are only allowed to stay on their parents' E-2 visas until the age of 21.

It is expected that these adult children will then apply for their own visas, but that is a task easier said than done. The young Missouri woman has been on the immigration system's wait list since the age of 12 when her grandparents, who are naturalized U.S. citizens, applied for a green card on her behalf.

Business owners, immigration attorneys and advocates say that this young woman's predicament represents a larger problem within the U.S. immigration system. They say even though the country is struggling economically, foreign entrepreneurs who could create jobs and spark economic growth are not welcomed in like they should be.

In fact, while some countries offer economic incentives to attract foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to their country, the United States is known for having a more hostile policy towards visa seekers. It is likely that the young Missouri woman and her family would agree.

The young woman said she considers herself an American and feels that it would be unfair to send her back to England, a country she has long forgotten. Immigration officials also have not given any merit to the fact that the young woman's parents helped their tiny Midwestern community grow by doubling the staff of the business they run.

Source:, "Visas come up short for entrepreneurs," Jose Pagliery, Aug. 6, 2012

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