IIUSA held its second Federal Advocacy Fly-In on April 26th and 27th. Events began on April 26th when the IIUSA PAC hosted a dinner to support Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s reelection campaign. Rep. Fitzpatrick was the lead Republican sponsor of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act that authorized the Regional Center program for five years. The Congressman and his chief of staff joined IIUSA Leadership for discussions about everything from the recent House of Representatives debt ceiling vote to matters of EB-5 RIA implementation.
The next morning, Leadership Circle members convened at IIUSA’s lobbyist’s office (Commonwealth Strategic Partners) to receive their Capitol Hill schedules and office packets for the day as well as a final debrief before heading out.
The group divided into a Senate Team and a House Team and collectively held fourteen meetings. All our meetings focused initially on making sure Congressional staff had a basic understanding of how the EB-5 program works and what its economic benefits are. As IIUSA Leaders went over the program’s key aspects, helping flatten the EB-5 learning curve, conversations quickly turned to how the Reform and Integrity Act is being implemented. The inquiries gave IIUSA Leadership the opportunity to provide fresh (and frank) impressions of the latest USCIS “Engagement Session” held the day before (April 25th).
Congressional staff were not pleased or surprised. Senate and House staff took notes on how the USCIS’s abdication of providing any guidance to the EB-5 industry would only encourage some parties to fill the void with activities and decisions that may well be fraudulent–a complete distortion of Congressional intent of assuring integrity.
There will be follow up to every meeting on the House side and Senate side to keep our new Congressional friends informed and develop new efforts for Congressional oversight and intervention. The next advocacy fly-in will be in July and likely focus on White House engagement, additional Hill meetings, and outreach to like-minded non-profit organizations.
This week’s meetings and all that come next are critical to deepening IIUSA’s presence in Washington, DC, and furthering policy makers’ understanding and appreciation of the EB-5 and Regional Center program. The more Leaders we have in Washington, the bigger our impact. If you are interested in being a part of the next IIUSA Advocacy Fly-In, please considering joining IIUSA’s Leadership Circle.