EB-5 in the news

President Obama has nominated current USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas for a top Department of Homeland Security Post – a mixed honor for him, considering the environment in Washington these days. Luckily for those eager to block the President’s nominations, they have found in Director Mayorkas’s past God’s gift to screamer headlines: the EB-5 program. Who needs a sex scandal when there exists such a potent tool for whipping up anti-business, xenophobic, and lingering Cold War sentiments. The investigation officially involves “allegations that (1) USCIS managers and counsel directed employees to obstruct an OIG audit and (2) a (unnamed) USCIS Director personally facilitated and assisted an applicant/petitioner with an EB-5 visa approval after the petitioner was initially found to be ineligible for the program,” and has plenty of purple insinuations tagging along in the wake. I like investigations because I like information, and I look forward to getting some facts to judge. I don’t like pre-investigation smear, and the rhetoric around this case is getting on my nerves. To summarize the messages I’ve gotten from news reports on the investigation (paraphrased):

  • News flash! We have allegations that one government agency wasn’t fully cooperative with another government agency! Good heavens!
  • You’ll be shocked to hear that we asked USCIS to handle something, and get the impression that they’re obstructing. No one else ever felt like that before. There must be a conspiracy!
  • It is alleged that a Director reconsidered and overturned the decision of subordinates! How could someone in a Director position do such a thing?
  • It has come to our attention that some business people have crazy ideas and take ambitious risks and try new things. Entrepreneurs risk failure! Investors who choose to bet on business ventures can lose money! What a scandal!
  • Psst… Clinton … there’s a Clinton connection in the wings, and you know what to think about that, wink wink.
  • We have exposed the shocking fact that those people who are putting cash into US businesses because they want to move their families here and get on a path to US citizenship – why many of those people are coming from… CHINA!! Maybe they’re COMMUNISTS!!!! Maybe they’re SPIES!!!!! ALERT! The Chinese are coming! The Chinese are coming! We’ve got to get organized! We’ve just got to get organized!

I’m exaggerating, of course. Or am I? It’s sad to realize that messages like this could do actual damage regardless of the outcome to the investigation. I don’t know what Director Mayorkas did for the EB-5 program beyond hosting a lot of public stakeholder meetings, but I appreciated his patience and courtesy at those events and I hope that his other activities get a careful investigation and just assessment. The EB-5 program needs leaders who are committed to the core values of the EB-5 program – real investment leading to real job creation and real economic development — who can see the forest for the trees, and who are willing to stand up to subordinates when decisions stray from the program’s vision. Washington needs to have an environment with accountability and with honor for political courage. America needs an environment where business people may take disclosed and calculated risks, where business failure does not of itself constitute fraud. EB-5 investments need serious due diligence and underwriting at some level — and this function shouldn’t just be left to interested immigration agents or inexperienced immigration lawyers and USCIS service officers. We all need to treat immigration with reasonable caution, but without acting like Fendall Hawkins. Let’s be part of the solution.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

3 Responses to EB-5 in the news

  1. Suzanne, you are HILARIOUS! I do appreciate your waiting for facts before making a final judgment. A balanced view is the best view.

    • Jin Yong says:

      I think the fact that the Chinese case involved Haulei router company that is taking biz away from US companies probably pkayed a factor.

  2. Jeff says:

    Anyone who has seen their presentation materials and their approval notice will see that there was no way from the beginning that this project would create anywhere near the required jobs. No one in America, repeat NO ONE, wants a fully electric roller skate. Mayorkas overstepped his authority big time and approved a project that even the AAO agreed should not be approved. (note the author of this post had one of his RCs approved at the AAO level). So now we have NOLA, Chicago, etc. that show the EB5 program rife with fraud. Seriously, how many major fraud cases in a universe of less than 300 active participants have there been? The percentage is huge compared to other financial services. We have clowns who lost stockbroker licenses due to fraud and non compliance running regional centers. We have large projects that got approved and drew investors based on forgeries, which a single phone call to any of the other alleged participants would have exposed, and now we have fraud and corruption from the deputy director. Meantime, honest smaller regional centers with actual projects and actual revenues are over scrutinized to the point that the program is barely worth the time, effort, expense and waiting game for smaller, more realistic projects.

    How many EB5 regional centers wished that the director would get involved and overrule an obtuse and barely educated adjudicator? How many actually get that look through? 1. This one.

    We really need to clean up the EB5 program. Adding more and more regional centers without proper policing, even self-policing as per FINRA, the AMA, etc. would work better than this Wild West scenario that’s happening now.

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