During the mark up of the bipartisan Gang of Eight legislation (S. 744) in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced an amendment to permanently authorize and improve the EB-5 Program. IIUSA is glad to announce that the amendment passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. The amendment is a positive step forward for the Program, now officially included in the comprehensive immigration reform deliberations that still a long way to go in both the Senate and House. In addition to permanency, Leahy’s amendment pushes for maximizing the Program’s visa capacity while protecting Program integrity and potentially putting processes in place that would address USCIS processing issues. In response to the introduction of his amendment, IIUSA sent a letter to Chairman Leahy expressing gratitude and support for his leadership in this issue, as well as his colleagues Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Grassley (R-IA), Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Schumer (D-NY), and Ranking Member Cornyn (R-TX).
In the letter, IIUSA communicated to Chairman Leahy that permanent authorization for the Program is the single most important step for effectuating its full potential of creating jobs for U.S. workers and progressive regional development. Short-term authorizations of three years is not sufficient for the Program because a lingering threat of expiring authorization creates an air of uncertainty surrounding the Program – thereby hindering its ability to induce capital formation and create jobs. IIUSA also stated that the backlog of more than 7,000 un-adjudicated I-526 petitions at USCIS represents no less than 70,000 American jobs not created and $3.5 billion in foreign investor capital not invested in communities across the U.S. – even though $11 million in filing fees has been collected by USCIS on these backlogged investor applications.
IIUSA also applauded Chairman Leahy for including in his legislation provisions to ehance Program integrity. Lastly, IIUSA stated its intention of providing substantive comments on the amendment based on member and stakeholder review the legislation for operational and policy implications. Permanent authorization of the Program, maximizing visa capacity, and addressing USCIS processing issues are the three priorities in IIUSA’s currently approved advocacy platform. The Leahy amendment addresses these issues, and gives the Program the certainty it needs to maximize its economic contribution to the U.S. IIUSA is looking forward to building an active partnership with our cross-sector, bipartisant supporters in Washington (and around the country) and continuing our concerted effort towards supporting the continued success of the Program.
THANK YOU TO MEMBERS FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND EFFORTS DURING THIS FIRST PART OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS! WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO…