Work Continues to Preserve and Strengthen the EB-5 Regional Center Program for Investors and EB-5 Industry Stakeholders
Yesterday, June 24, 2021, one Senator objected to Senators Grassley’s, Leahy’s, and Cornyn’s request for unanimous consent for the Senate to pass S. 831, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021. The objection prevented S.831 from being passed before the Senate adjourned for its Fourth of July Recess. As such, it will not be possible to reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”) before the June 30th expiration date.
Following the single objection, Senator Leahy, Senator Grassley, and Senator Cornyn all spoke from the Senate Floor. The comments all reflect their continued support; Senator Leahy stating:
“I was happy to join both Senators Grassley and Cornyn on the EB-5 reform bill. Senator Cornyn has worked very hard on this, Senator Grassley has, and I have. And it was a truly bipartisan bill that has widespread support among EB-5 stakeholders – those who responsibly welcome changes in the program that would improve oversight and accountability.
“Senator Grassley and I have been working for years to reform the EB-5 visa program. We want to reduce the fraud that’s current in several EB-5 projects, including one that occurred in my own state of Vermont. And this legislation – again, bringing Republicans and Democrats across the political spectrum together – reflects a careful, thoughtful compromise that will keep the EB-5 program alive and curtail the worst abuses.
“There’s actually only a small minority that wants to keep the program operating without these improved these standards and oversight, and I wish they would be willing to bring it out, vote it up or down. Be on the record, saying how they’re going to vote. Because opposing our effort on this is a vote that allows the EB-5 program to lapse. That’s going to have untold economic consequences throughout the communities that rely on the program for development projects, like those that the Senator from Texas just mentioned.”
IIUSA would like to thank Senators Leahy, Grassley, and Cornyn for their leadership and tireless work on S.831. It was an exemplary demonstration of bipartisanship, and they were the only Senators to introduce any legislation to reauthorize the Program. In fact, there was no alternative bill to consider. As conversations among the EB-5 stakeholders and policymakers continue to press on and expand, we look forward to continuing our work with them.
Yesterday’s outcome is disappointing, but it is not the end of the road. IIUSA’s commitment to the Program and to the EB-5 investors and stakeholders who make it work is hardened. We are proud to continue our active role in the Program’s legislative efforts.
We are confident that with your help, Congress will enact legislation to reform and sustainably reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program!
During this time, we know investors have questions about their investments and their immigration status. IIUSA is not only working on Capitol Hill to protect the Program, we are also working with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to get clarity on process and investor priorities during this time.
This is the first time the Program has lapsed without a safety net of must-pass legislation. In previous Program lapses, USCIS indicated an expectation of eventual reauthorization. When we confirm from USCIS how they plan to handle EB-5-related petitions during this time, we will provide updates to our stakeholders.
In the interim, IIUSA will continue leading the EB-5 community’s efforts to reauthorize the Program.
IIUSA supports S.831 and the identical House companion HR.2901 to reform the Program and provide a long-term reauthorization. Although the Program will lapse, these bills are still pending in Congress and still benefit from industry support and continually growing bipartisan Congressional sponsorship. Currently, over 25 members of the House of Representatives are sponsors or cosponsors of the bill. IIUSA will continue to raise awareness of the Program on Capitol Hill and seek additional supporters of this legislation.
Next Steps and How You Can Help
IIUSA will continue to lead the industry’s growing efforts to reform and reauthorize the Program, and we need your help.
- Ask your member of Congress to cosponsor the EB-5 reform and reauthorization bills, S. 831 and H.R. 2901. Contact IIUSA for help.
- Share your EB-5 success stories with us via e-mail so we can share them with members of Congress.
- Join the Coalition to Save and Create Jobs at saveandcreatejobs.org/join and invite all your project partners and local development entities to join as well (i.e., chambers of commerce, EDOs, state/local elected officials.)
- Join IIUSA at iiusa.org/membership in our effort on behalf of the industry.
Despite June 24th’s temporary set-back, our fight to reform and reauthorize this key job-creating program continues to gain support. June 24th’s set-back has not dampened enthusiasm and will not be the final word. Please join us today as we fight to reform and reauthorize the EB-5 program and protect the rights of all in the EB-5 industry.