LAKELAND, Fla. - Zoe and Steve Adams have built their Lakeland-based, small business into a big money-maker. They’ve owned Richard’s Pool Service for the last ten years and have 250 weekly customers. The Adams employ four full-time employees and said their business in banking into six figures these days.
They are from England and have built the business with an E2 Visa. “I actually call it a ridiculous Visa,” Zoe Adams said.
Zoe said the E2 Visa is a dead-end and explained holders have to prove they’re growing a business and employing Americans every two years for renewal. "We don’t get an option to move on to a Green Card,” she said. There is no eventual path to U.S. citizenship for E2 Visa holders.
The Department of Homeland Security cited about 330,00 people in the U.S. in 2011 are on an E2 Visa. There were no statistics immediately available for more recent years, specifically Florida.
Zoe Adams traveled to Washington, DC this week to advocate on behalf of E2 Visa holders. She said the timing is critical, as the President just made a renewed push for comprehensive immigration reform in his State of the Union address. “The time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
“We are the first group to approach people in DC to do this,” Adams said. She estimated that she represents about 100 E2 Visa holders in the Tampa Bay area. Her goal is get in front of as many lawmakers as possible. “We’d like to know E2 Visa holders are being considered in the immigration debate,” Adams said.
“This Visa has been the same since 1952. I believe this is the year things could change for us and for a lot of immigrants,” Adams added.
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A mother and daughter were rescued from a house fire in the Citrus Park area of Tampa on Saturday afternoon.