During the mark up of the bipartisan Gang of Eight legislation (S. 744) in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced an amendment to permanently authorize and improve the EB-5 Program. The amendment pushes for maximizing visa capacity while protecting Program integrity and would potentially put processes in place that should help with the USCIS backlog. IIUSA is appreciative of Chairman Leahy’s leadership on this issue and will be sending a letter articulating this appreciation, while also commenting on some areas of concern.
This amendment, coupled with actions already underway at the new USCIS EB-5 Program Office in Washington, DC (which just opened this past Monday 5/6) instill hope towards alleviating the I-526 backlog at USCIS. These provisions which are already being put into place in USCIS include hiring economists as adjudicators rather than immigration officers as had previously filled those positions, as well as designating “case agents’ who will be assigned certain clients to interact with Regional Centers via email or telephone to work through issues in order to minimize the need to issue requests for evidence (RFEs). USCIS is also working on transitioning EB-5 petitions to its electronic filing system (ELIS) this summer, starting with I-526 petitions on a pilot, non-mandatory basis.
Permanent authorization of the Program, maximizing visa capacity, and addressing USCIS processing issues are the three priorities in IIUSA’s currently approved advocacy platform. The Leahy amendment would address these issues, and give the Program the certainty it needs to maximize its economic contribution to the U.S.
Feedback from membership regarding the Leahy amendment is most welcome! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments on the proposed amendment.