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Impact of the Executive Order on AI Development on Immigration

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the United States is positioning itself to be a global leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) development, guided by the “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.” This ambitious order not only sets a clear path for the responsible development of AI but also has significant implications for immigration. Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects of this executive order and how it impacts immigration:

Attracting AI Talent to the United States

One of the top priorities of this executive order is to attract the brightest AI minds from around the world to the United States. To achieve this, several measures have been put in place:

  1. Streamlined Visa Processing: Within 90 days, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security will take steps to streamline visa processing for noncitizens coming to the U.S. to work, study, or conduct research in AI and emerging technologies.
  2. New Criteria for J-1 Nonimmigrants: Within 120 days, the Secretary of State will consider rulemaking to establish new criteria for certain J-1 nonimmigrants, ensuring that critical skills are identified.
  3. Domestic Visa Renewal Program: Within 180 days, the Secretary of State may expand the domestic visa renewal program to include academic J-1 research scholars and F-1 students in STEM fields. Additionally, a program will be established to identify and attract top talent in AI and emerging technologies from overseas.

These measures make it easier for talented individuals in the field of AI to come to the United States, contributing to the country’s position as a global AI hub.

Policies and Principles

Section 2 of the executive order outlines eight principles for governing AI, focusing on safety, innovation, worker support, equity, consumer protection, privacy, government regulation, and global leadership. The order’s goal is to encourage responsible AI development while emphasizing safety, security, equity, and individual rights, and promoting international collaboration to address AI-related challenges and opportunities. 

Developing Guidelines for AI Safety and Security 

Section 4 of the executive order outlines several measures for ensuring AI safety and security. It includes the development of guidelines for secure AI systems, reporting requirements for companies working on AI models, assessments of AI’s impact on critical infrastructure, a focus on AI’s potential misuse in CBRN threats, the creation of standards for identifying synthetic content, and the solicitation of public input on dual-use models. Additionally, it aims to develop guidelines for the safe release of federal data for AI training and proposes a National Security Memorandum on AI governance and risk management. Together, these measures work towards fostering responsible AI deployment in diverse sectors, including critical infrastructure and national security, with potential implications for immigration.

Promoting Innovation and Competition

Section 5 of the executive order is dedicated to promoting innovation and competition in AI and emerging technologies. It includes three main components:

5.1 focuses on attracting AI talent to the United States by streamlining visa processing and establishing new criteria for certain nonimmigrant visas. This section also considers expanding the domestic visa renewal program and creating a program to attract top talent from overseas.

5.2 is about promoting innovation and includes the launch of the National AI Research Resource, funding for regional innovation engines and AI research institutes, high-performance computing training, and guidance on AI-related intellectual property. It also prioritizes responsible AI development in healthcare and organizes AI Tech Sprint competitions while producing reports on AI’s potential in various areas.

5.3 concentrates on promoting competition by encouraging fair practices and preventing concentrated control of AI. It involves the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in ensuring fair competition in the AI marketplace, promoting competition in the semiconductor industry, supporting small businesses in AI innovation, and launching outreach initiatives for small businesses.

These measures collectively aim to make the United States a more attractive destination for AI talent, foster innovation, and ensure fair competition in the AI and emerging technology sectors.

Supporting Workers

Section 6 of the executive order is focused on supporting workers considering AI’s impact. Within 180 days, it outlines several actions:

(a) The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers will prepare a report for the President to understand how AI affects the labor market.

(b) The Secretary of Labor will, within 180 days, develop principles and best practices for employers to ensure that AI benefits employees’ well-being. This guidance will cover topics such as job displacement, labor standards, and data use by employers.

(c) The Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) will prioritize resources for AI-related education and workforce development through existing programs, including fellowship programs and awards. Consultations with other agencies will identify further opportunities for resource allocation.

These measures aim to assess and mitigate the impact of AI on the workforce while promoting a diverse and AI-ready workforce through education and development programs.

Protecting Civil Rights in Government Benefits and Programs

Sections 7.2 and 7.3 promote equitable AI use in government programs and various sectors by preventing discrimination and bias. This includes collaboration with civil rights offices, ensuring fair access to public benefits, preventing AI-related discrimination in hiring, minimizing bias in housing and finance, addressing tenant screening and digital advertising concerns, and protecting people with disabilities from AI-related risks. These measures collectively aim to ensure fair and nondiscriminatory AI application, fostering an environment that may attract a more diverse range of individuals, including immigrants, to benefit from AI technologies.

Protecting Privacy

This section aims to enhance privacy in AI through three key actions:

(a) The OMB Director assesses commercially available information, especially with personally identifiable data, and reviews agency procedures to enhance privacy.

(b) The Secretary of Commerce, through NIST, will create guidelines to evaluate differential-privacy protections in AI.

(c) The NSF Director, with the Secretary of Energy, funds privacy research and Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs). Agencies are encouraged to adopt PETs and promote research using the United States-United Kingdom PETs Prize Challenge. These actions strengthen AI privacy and encourage PET use, potentially fostering a more secure environment for individuals, including immigrants, who engage with AI technologies.

Advancing Federal Government Use of AI

Section 10 is dedicated to improving AI usage and talent in the federal government. It includes measures such as establishing an interagency council for AI coordination, issuing guidance for effective AI adoption, assessing AI compliance, and providing tools for risk management. Additionally, it encourages agencies to set guidelines for generative AI, prioritize funding for AI projects, and facilitate access to AI services. Furthermore, there is separate guidance for AI used in national security systems.

Section 10.2 aims to boost AI talent within the government. It involves identifying priority mission areas for AI expertise, accelerating hiring pathways, coordinating talent recruitment across agencies, streamlining hiring processes, and expanding AI training programs for the federal workforce, addressing challenges in hiring noncitizens for AI and critical technologies, and enhancing the use of authorities for retaining noncitizens vital to national security. This may make the United States more appealing to a diverse range of AI experts and researchers from around the world.

Strengthening American Leadership Abroad

Section 11 aims to enhance American leadership in global AI and promote international cooperation. The key points include:

(a) Leadership and International Framework: The Secretary of State will engage with international allies to create an international framework for AI risk and benefits management, encouraging commitments and regulatory principles for foreign nations.

(b) Global technical standards: The Secretary of Commerce will work on global AI technical standards, covering AI nomenclature, data practices, trustworthiness, and AI risk management through international collaboration.

(c) Promotion of Safe and Responsible AI Abroad: A playbook and a Global AI Research Agenda will be published to integrate AI risk management principles and address research priorities and labor-market implications in international AI deployment.

(d) Addressing Cross-Border AI Risks to Critical Infrastructure: The Secretary of Homeland Security will lead efforts to address cross-border AI risks to critical infrastructure through multilateral engagements and the development of AI safety and security guidelines, with a focus on reporting priority actions to mitigate risks.

The “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence” has far-reaching implications for immigration. The order is designed to attract global AI talent to the United States by streamlining visa processing, setting new criteria for certain J-1 nonimmigrants, and expanding visa renewal programs to include academic J-1 research scholars and F-1 students in STEM. It also promotes the responsible development of AI while emphasizing safety, security, equity, and individual rights and encourages international collaboration, which may attract AI experts and researchers from diverse backgrounds to the United States.