S.232 Update, RC list changes
February 6, 2017 4 Comments
Senator Feinstein and Senator Grassley have finally published text for and issued a joint press release on the long-shot S.232 – A bill to terminate the EB-5 Visa Program. The statement from Senator Grassley clarifies what this piece of legislation is really about: “For years, I’ve worked with bipartisan colleagues in good faith to reform it. Unfortunately, despite its many flaws, EB-5 proponents are apparently content with the status quo, and that’s unacceptable. I was hoping that it would not come to this point, but absent serious efforts to bring about reforms, we need to take the necessary steps to wind down the program and completely mitigate fraud, abuse and threats to our security.” S.232 expresses frustration at the progress of EB-5 legislation and makes a hardball negotiating statement: “if you don’t respond to my concerns, here’s what could happen.” The proposal to eliminate EB-5 entirely must be too drastic to gain much support or pass into law, but we should still take the frustration seriously. I can understand why EB-5 industry advocates in Washington DC would settle on a “protect the status quo” platform, that being the path of least resistance to industry consensus, but we cannot afford a reputation for being unserious about reform. We should address each of the concerns that Feinstein and Grassley raise in their press release. We can clarify points that are factually wrong (EB-5 is not green card sale and does not avoid waiting lines, as Feinstein assumes), respond constructively to valid concerns (for example support effective protections in response to past instances of fraud, address questions raised by GAO and Commerce studies on job counts), and have the leadership to offer some considered concessions on the fundamentally divisive issues (such how the targeted employment area incentive should be used, what investment amounts should be). We must not leave oxygen for S.232, or give it excuse to become anything more than a negotiating threat.
Joseph Whalen emailed that “USCIS has resumed advertising job opportunities after a brief pause. While USCIS had canceled some previously scheduled interviews, some have been rescheduled and allowed to move forward. New personnel actions are taking place.” USAjobs.gov now shows active listings for jobs with USCIS. This may mean good news for planned staff increases at the EB-5 Investor Program Office.
State Department Statistics
The Report of the Visa Office 2016 has been updated with per-country statistics on EB-5 visas issued abroad (Table VI). I will post my visas-by-country summary chart when Table V is published with combined numbers for all fifth preference visas.
SEC Issues for Attorneys
IIUSA has reposted 10 Observations from Reviewing Evidence in an SEC Civil Enforcement Action, an article with good advice for attorneys based on the author’s review of documentary evidence in a civil enforcement action brought by the SEC against an attorney for taking commissions as an unregistered broker-dealer.
RC List Changes
Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List, 12/06/2016 to 02/04/2017
- Health and Welfare EB-5 Regional Center, LLC (New Jersey, Pennsylvania)
Additions to the list of Terminated Regional Centers:
- Medical Investment in Texas Regional Center (Texas) Terminated 1/23/2017
- Pacific Proton Therapy Regional Center, LLC (California) Terminated 1/26/2017