Families with entrepreneur visas face uncertain pathway to citizenship

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 7:13 PM EST

About 300 families are living in Central Florida through an entrepreneur visa program.

  • Entrepreneur visa doesn't provide citizenship pathway
  • E2 Treaty Investor Visa for entrepreneurs with job-creating businesses
  • Children can only stay until they're 21

While these folks invest huge sums to run a business here, their visas do not have a pathway to citizenship. This is why some of these families say they feel forgotten.

Morgan Crosbie, 16, does not remember much about Northern Ireland, the place she was born.

“We go back every once in a while, but I have grow up here, this is my home,” she said.

Today Morgan lives in St. Cloud with her mother Alison and father Nigel who run Custom Creations, an apparel print shop. The family is in the United States under the E2 Treaty Investor Visa – a visa for entrepreneurs who operate a business that creates jobs for U.S. citizens.

In order for the Crosbies to stay here and continue to run their business, they must renew their visa every five years, but each time there is no guarantee.

“We think of the reasons we came in the first place ... to give our child the opportunity to work hard, and if they worked hard they could be and do anything they wanted to be,” said Alison. “But then come to find out at 21 they have to find a different way to stay.”

Under this investor visa, their children can only stay here until they’re 21. Morgan’s sister is now 20 years old and away to college, something her parents worry about.

The Crosbies said it's hard to see so much support behind the DACA kids and none for their children.

“If they're looking at legislation for DACA please include our kids as well, because they deserve the same opportunity if not more so, because they came here legally in the first place,” Nigel explained.

The bill H.R.3265 was introduced over the summer that would allow the E2 visa holders and their families to apply for permanent residency after 10 years. It’s a strand of hope Morgan is holding onto.

The Crosbies along with other central Florida E2 families want to go to DC in February when legislation is back in session to raise awareness about the matter.

“I’d like us to all stay here. The opportunities we get here everyone wants them it’s the American dream. We came here legally, but we can't get those,” Morgan added. “I would like us all to stay here but that is a hard path to do with this visa.”