By: Ashley Sanislo Casey, Associate Director of Advocacy
In order to fulfill its mission of educating Congress and the general public about the benefits of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, IIUSA works hand-in-hand with a number of public interest groups who see EB-5 as an important tool for economic development. Moreover, in the push for EB-5 reauthorization ahead of September 30, IIUSA has mobilized its internal resources and relationships to build about a chorus of public support for the Program.
In 2014, IIUSA formed the Association Building Committee (ABC), which is tasked with cultivating existing relationships and forging new ones with organizations and entities outside of IIUSA to build an infrastructure of support for the Program.
As the committee has gained traction over the past two years, public support for the Program, through the help of committee member relationships and outreach, has continued to grow. Currently, the committee is working on a growing list of organizations to pledge their support for the EB-5 Program either through official resolutions that are passed through the organizational process or by submitting letters of support to federal lawmakers.
This summer, IIUSA celebrated several victories in its quest to build an ever-expanding record of public support for the EB-5 Program. In June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCOM) passed a resolution in support of EB-5 for the fifth year in a row. Also in June, the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) passed an EB-5 support resolution for the first time, recognizing the impact EB-5 investment has had on their members who seek to “foster innovation, commercialization and economic growth in a global economy through university, industry and government partnerships”.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) met in mid-July for its annual meeting where its Community, Economic and Workforce Development Committee considered a policy platform position in support of EB-5. In the previous three years, NACo adopted policy resolutions in support of the Program, which need to be renewed on an annual basis at its annual meeting. This year, with the help of our platform sponsor Supervisor John Benoit of Riverside County, CA, a policy platform position was submitted, and accepted, thus making support of the EB-5 Regional Center Program a permanent fixture in NACo’s policy platform.
Lastly, in early August, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) considered for the first time an EB-5 support resolution at their annual Legislative Summit held in Chicago, IL. Thanks to its resolution sponsor, Representative Brent Yonts of Kentucky, the Labor and Economic Development Committee passed the EB-5 resolution, moving it on for full organization consideration. The resolution, which included provisions on long-term extension and enhanced integrity measures, was accepted and is now a part of NCSL’s federal legislative priorities.
This incredible support that EB-5 has gained from national and local entities alike is an important building block for short and long-term industry advocacy efforts. As EB-5 stakeholder groups continue to work with lawmakers to achieve long-term reauthorization, having the support of influential and respected organizations like NACo, USCOM and NCSL will have a significant impact on decisions to reauthorize the EB-5 Program at the federal level. It should be noted that EB-5 cannot and does not operate in a vacuum, so the support of leaders and organizations that influence our cities, counties, states and other local entities is paramount. These very relationships which are so important to achieving a long-term reauthorization will continue to help IIUSA and the EB-5 industry deliver the promise of quality jobs and economic development to local communities and businesses.
To see a full list of public supporters of EB-5, visit iiusa.org/public-support