On July 25, 2018 a lawsuit, case 18-cv-1732, was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the American Lending Center (an EB-5 regional center and a member of IIUSA) and EB-5 investors whose children have fallen victim to “aging out.” The lawsuit seeks relief for their children who may not receive a U.S. visa due to the method that the Department of State (“DOS”) uses to count visas. Instead of counting an entire family as one visa, DOS uses a visa for each person in the family. As a result, the number of visas available for investors is approximately one-third of the 10,000 visas a year that are allocated for EB-5 investors. Due to this, there is an extreme backlog, leaving investors and their families with an estimated 15 year wait to receive their EB-5 visa. Because of this lengthy retrogression, many children of investors “age out” and are ineligible to receive a U.S. visa as a derivative of their parent’s investment, despite being well within the age requirements upon filing the I-526 petition and making the investment.
IIUSA has long supported numerous equitable and reasonable efforts to relieve the visa backlog and retrogression. One of the leading solutions is for the EB-5 visa allocation to return to the original intent of the law which would allocate 10,000 visas for the actual investors, with spouses and children eligible to immigrate as derivatives of the investors themselves. The derivative visas, or visas issued to dependent spouses and children, would not count against the 10,000 visas per year limit. As the lawsuit states, this was the original intent of the EB-5 legislation.
American Lending Center, an EB-5 Regional Center and IIUSA member, joined the lawsuit due to their own damages suffered as a result of retrogression and counting derivatives against the 10,000 investor visa cap.
The lawsuit was filed by Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A., a Florida law firm. The firm is an IIUSA member with extensive experience in civil litigation and immigration law.
“We support the efforts of many groups and individuals who are working to provide relief to the crushing retrogression period which is harming innocent investors and the EB-5 industry as a whole. There are numerous short and long-term solutions to return the EB-5 program to the original legislative intent and thereby provide visa relief to families currently mired in the visa backlog,” said Robert Kraft, IIUSA President. He went on to say, “IIUSA strongly supports those efforts.”
The visa backlog is having a devastating effect on the EB-5 program’s ability to create new U.S. jobs. Bill Gresser, IIUSA Vice President and President of EB-5 New York State Regional Center said, “The EB-5 immigrant investor program is a proven job-creating engine. The U.S. Department of Commerce in its 2017 study found that in just over a 2-year period, EB-5 investments created over 174,000 U.S. jobs and contributed nearly $6 billion into the American economy.”
Additionally, a recent study conducted by IIUSA and the Western Washington University Center for Economic Business Research found that from FY2010-FY2017, over $16.5 billion in EB-5 capital was invested in the U.S. and created over 267,000 American jobs. The EB-5 program as a job-creation engine is at risk due to the visa backlog.
IIUSA therefore supports this lawsuit with the hope that it will deliver relief to the thousands of investor families and their children and will help solve the debilitating problem which stymies EB-5 investment and the creation of new U.S. jobs, all at no cost to taxpayers.
More information on this suit can be found on IIUSA’s blog at https://iiusa.org
Founded in 2005, IIUSA is the national not-for-profit trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center industry with a mission of advocacy, education, industry development, and research. The organization represents more than 240 Regional Centers and 180 Associate members, collectively representing big and small projects, urban and rural economic development, and industry sectors ranging from real estate and manufacturing to energy and infrastructure. IIUSA’s members are engines of economic growth and job creation, accounting for a vast majority of capital flowing through the Program. Learn more at IIUSA.org