The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s CIS Ombudsman Office has published its executive summary of the 3/5 EB-5 stakeholder meeting that it hosted in Washington, DC. In her opening remarks, CIS Ombudsman, Maria Odom, stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the challenges in the Program and to propose possible solutions. She also noted that since October 2012, the Ombudsman’s Office has received nearly 400 requests for assistance on EB-5 cases, a vast majority of the requests involve processing delays. IIUSA Executive Director, Peter D. Joseph, was also a featured speaker at the meeting – along with Lincoln Stone (Stone & Grzegorek; AILA EB-5 Committee) and Bill Yates (Yates & Associates; former USCIS officer) – with Mr. Joseph representing the Regional Center industry.
Some of the concerns mentioned by stakeholders during the open Forum Session are as follows:
- Stakeholders seek more direct communication with adjudicators.
- There is a lack of responsiveness in the EB-5 program email box.
- Posted processing times are unreliable.
- Frustration over receiving multiple RFEs.
- Quality, consistency, and predictability of USCIS decisions varies widely and that new policies are implemented without notice.
The last time the Ombudsman’s Office issued formal recommendations to USCIS regarding the EB-5 Program was back in 2009, which USCIS responded to a few months later. IIUSA welcomes the support and interest of the Ombudsman’s Office in increasing EB-5 policy clarity as well as reforming the inefficient and unpredictable EB-5 adjudication process. IIUSA remains engaged with the CIS Ombudsman’s Office to issue new recommendations on the Program to address these issues.