Last week, IIUSA submitted a letter to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting that they continue to hold in abeyance all pending Regional Center-related EB-5 petitions as the Regional Center Program lapse continues. Shortly after, IIUSA joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and EB5 Investment Coalition (EB5IC) in signing onto a joint industry letter requesting the same.
It is important at this time as we continue to advocate for a reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program that we show industry consensus, particularly on issues such as protecting good-faith investors. IIUSA was proud to join AILA and EB5IC on this letter which seeks to do just that. As the EB-5 industry’s trade association, we are steadfast in our commitment to Program reauthorization, protecting investors, and program integrity.
Ms. Ur Mendoza Jaddou
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
5900 Capital Gateway Drive
Camp Springs, Maryland 20588
Re: USCIS to continue to hold in abeyance EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program-related petitions and applications
Dear Ms. Jaddou:
On behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Invest in the USA (IIUSA), and the EB-5 Investment Coalition (EB-5IC), we write to express our concern regarding the lapse of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center (RC) Program and to urge U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue to hold EB-5 RC-related petitions and applications beyond the end of the calendar year 2021 to allow Congress sufficient time to reauthorize the EB-5 RC program.
By way of background, at midnight on June 30, 2021, the statutory authorization relating to the EB-5 RC program expired. In response to this lapse, USCIS currently indicates on its website1 that it will hold all pending Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status that are dependent on the lapsed statutory authority \ and were filed before the end of the statutory authorization in abeyance until the end of calendar year 2021, at which time it will reevaluate the hold. As a result of the RC program’s lapse, there are an estimated 100,000 individuals who have injected billions of dollars into the U.S. economy who are now stuck in immigration limbo. The U.S. State Department has confirmed that there are approximately 83,000 EB-5 investors with approved EB-5 petitions and their family members who remain pending abroad awaiting visa interviews.2 In addition, there are 12,798 pending EB-5 petitions at USCIS for EB-5 investors (not including any of their dependent family members).3 Taken together, nearly 100,000 individuals who have invested in good faith are impacted by the EB-5 RC program lapse with all processing halted on their cases.
On December 3, 2021, President Biden signed into law H.R. 6119, the “Further Extending Government Funding Act” which includes a short-term continuing resolution that funds the federal government through February 18, 2022. EB-5 RC program reauthorization legislation is expected to be included in future appropriation bills. As EB-5 RC reauthorization legislation is actively being discussed in Congress and is highly anticipated, we respectfully urge USCIS to continue to hold all pending EB-5 RC-related petitions and applications in abeyance beyond the end of calendar year 2021 to allow Congress sufficient time to finalize and pass legislation reauthorizing the EB-5 RC program. We also respectfully request USCIS to update its website to alert the public and EB-5 stakeholders of the additional holding period beyond calendar year 2021.
EB-5 investors’ capital has helped keep our economy buoyant even in these turbulent economic times in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government and Congress must do all they can in return to keep the immigration process on track for those investors who invested in good faith through the EB-5 program and maintain confidence in this important job-creating program which benefits the U.S. economy and local communities.
Please address any concerns or questions to AILA’s Director of Government Relations Sharvari (Shev) Dalal-Dheini at (202) 507-7621 or by email at SDalal-Dheini@aila.org.
THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
INVEST IN THE USA (IIUSA)
EB-5 INVESTMENT COALITION