RC reauthorization to 9/30/2017, Trump statements on reform

The regional center program is now authorized, as part of fiscal year 2017 Appropriations legislation, through September 30, 2017. Updates as they happened:

  • 5/8/2017: In the wake of RC program reauthorization and the flap over an EB-5 project being promoted by the Kushner Companies, the White House has started issuing more EB-5 statements, which I’m collecting in this document.
  • 5/5/2017: President Trump has signed the omnibus appropriations bill H.R. 244 – Senate Amendments to HIRE Vets Act [Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017]. The text still includes clean extension of the regional center program to September 30, 2017 (Title III, Section 542).
  • 5/1/2017: House Appropriations Committee press release: Comprehensive Government Funding Bill Released. The bill text includes this magic sentence on page 734: “SEC. 542. Section 610(b) of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) shall be applied by substituting ‘‘September 30, 2017’’ for ‘‘September 30, 2015’’. If passed, this will give simple extension of the Regional Center program authorization for the reminder of the fiscal year, with no other EB-5 program changes. (Section 610(b) of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Public Law 102-395) established the regional center program, page 47.)  Even assuming the bill will pass as-is, this is not time to relax. Congress could still come out with new independent EB-5 legislation at any time — nothing says they have to wait til the last reauthorization minute to act. Senator Cornyn’s office circulated a new discussion draft of EB-5 legislation just this morning. I’ve entered summary details in my bill comparison chart,   and will add link to the full text as soon as someone posts the draft publicly.
  • 4/28/2017: H.J.Res. 99 – Joint Resolution making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2017, and for other purposes has been passed and signed into law, extending government funding and other provisions of Public Law 114–223 (including the regional center program) to May 5, 2017.
  • 4/27/2017: For the first time, I’ve noticed a statement from the Trump administration on EB-5. Washington Post says,
      • The White House issued a statement to The Washington Post this week saying that the Trump administration is weighing changes to the foreign investor visa program. “There are serious concerns held by the administration regarding the EB-5 visa program, in part because it is not being used as it was primarily intended,” said Michael Short, a White House spokesman. “The administration is continuing to evaluate reforms to the program, which we believe is in need of substantial repair.”

    (Update: additional statements linked above at the 5/8/2017 bullet point.)

  • 4/26/2017: House Appropriations Committee Press Release: “House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen today introduced a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) (H.J.Res. 99) to continue funding for federal programs and services until May 5, 2017. …The legislation continues policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted fiscal year 2016 Appropriations legislation.” Here is the text of the CR. It’s set for vote on 4/28.

As a reminder, the history of recent regional center program reauthorizations:

  • 12/10/2016 – RC program is extended unchanged to 04/28/2017 as part of a continuing appropriations act (PL 114-254)
  • 9/29/2016 – RC program is extended unchanged to 12/09/2016 as part of a continuing appropriations act (PL 114-223)
  • 12/8/2015 – RC program is extended unchanged to 9/30/2016 as part of an appropriations act (PL 114-113)
  • 9/30/2015 – RC program is extended unchanged to 12/11/2015 as part of a continuing appropriations act (PL 114-53)
  • 9/28/2012 – RC program is extended (with one small change) to 9/30/2015 as part of immigration-related legislation (PL 112-176)

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing.

20 Responses to RC reauthorization to 9/30/2017, Trump statements on reform

  1. Great timeline and history of program extensions. Very well done!

  2. Jeff says:

    Glad this administration is on it. The program was never intended to make wealthy real estate investors wealthier with cheap cash. Real estate simply doesn’t properly create the jobs

  3. Lucy says:

    What’s your opinion on the possibility of Congress reaching an agreement before May 5th? In addition, at IIUSA, Charlie Oppenheim predicted an extremely upsetting wait time for China born investors, do you see any possibility of near term relief for these investors?

  4. Alan says:

    Great write-up Suzanne!

    For allocation of quota to rural/distressed areas in some of the current proposals, do you think applicants who invested in projects in these areas (i.e. with 500K+admin fee) AND filed I-526 under the current legislation will be eligible for such quota once the new legislation comes out?

    • Alice says:

      Thanks for the summary, Suzanne! This is my question as well.

    • I think this is a grey area. The 12/2/2016 staff draft legislation proposed a process that would give investors waiting on a visa number the option to apply to certify their investment as a TEA under the new rules. The more recent drafts left out that process, and don’t clarify how/whether investors already in the system could be eligible to take advantage of a visa quota based on new TEA definitions. The 4/30/2017 draft does have this language on amendments, which might be applicable:
      AMENDMENTS MADE TO COMPLY WITH EB-5 REFORM ACT. On or after the date of enactment of the EB-5 Reform Act, any revision to any offering document or other component of a specific investment offering approved under this paragraph prior to the date of enactment of the EB-5 Reform Act, which revision is made for the purpose of complying with the requirements of such Act, shall not be considered a material change to a specific investment offering.

  5. Daniel Shires says:

    Hi Suzanne, in your bill comparison chart, you mention ‘
    If not clarified, this could mean that rules would retroactively affect I-829.’ What exactly do you mean by that? Would it retroactively affect I-829’s filed after the 1st of January 2019 only? Thank you so much for your huge contribution!

    • I oversimplified that point too much in my summary. The draft bill does not positively suggest retroactive application — the language is just not as watertight as it should be to ensure that investors will only be held to the rules that applied when they file I-526.

      Here’s the relevant language exactly:
      “(B) ADJUSTMENT OF REQUIRED AMOUNT OF CAPITAL. –
      “(i) The Secretary may update the amount under subparagraph (b)(1) and (b)(2)(C), as adjusted by paragraph (A), by publication of a technical amendment in the Federal Register.
      “(ii) The amount adjusted under paragraph subparagraph (b)(1) and (b)(2)(C) shall be applicable to any petition for classification of an alien as an immigrant investor under section 203(b)(5) [ie I-526] or to remove the conditions on an alien investor’s law permanent resident status under section 216A [ie I-829] filed 90 days after the publication of such technical amendment in the Federal Register, and to any subsequent related petition under section 216A.

      SEC. 704. EFFECTIVE DATES.
      The amendments made by this Act shall take effect on January 1, 2019, and apply to any application, petition, amendment, certification, statement filed on or after the date of enactment of this Act, to:
      (1) classify an alien as an immigrant investor under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)) [ie I-526];
      (2) designate a new regional center under section 203A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153A);
      (3) amend a previously approved regional center or apply for approval of a particular investment offering under section 203A of the Immigration and Nationality Act; or
      (4) remove the conditions on lawful permanent resident status under section 216A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1186b) [ie I-829] for aliens who obtained such status based on a petition to classify the alien as an immigrant investor under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)) [ie I-829], filed on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

  6. Investor says:

    Have you heard about John Cornyn’s draft, which was circulated this week? Do you think that draft can potentially be introduced, and, as many investors wish, serves as a basis for negotiation?

    The draft is very similar to Goodlatte and Grassley’s but excludes family members from visa quota.

    • I have read the draft, and hope that it will be introduced so that the discussion around it doesn’t remain so limited and secretive. The visa quota proposal is very welcome. I wonder whether the bill as a whole contains a sufficient level of reform to satisfy the reformers.

      • Investor says:

        But given the current circumstances, do you think Congress will be okay for more visas?

        Some says Congress will never approve more visas without a comprehensive immigration reform. Others say John Cornyn is a powerful guy and more visas may be possible. What do you think?

      • I think the not-counting-derivatives proposal is the best hope for visa relief. Its increase to visa numbers is inconspicuous, and there’s a good argument that the original allocation was meant to apply to investors, such that this wouldn’t be a fundamental change of the kind that could only happen with comprehensive immigration reform. I understand that there’s little hope if Congress understood this as an increase to total visa numbers, or requiring visas taken away from another category.

  7. Walter says:

    Thank you for the updates and latest news….very much appreciated!

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