On December 9, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodríguez provided written testimony for the hearing on “Oversight of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services” before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security”.
The testimony addresses a wide range of issues including the EB-5 Program. Director Rodríguez focuses his comments on the uptick in petition filings brought on by the 9/30, increased operational capacity of the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) and how frequent EB-5 stakeholder engagements work to improve both program efficiency and integrity.
Excerpt from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodríguez on the EB-5 Program
USCIS continues to take steps to improve operational capacity and program integrity in the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program. In FY15, USCIS’ Immigrant Investor Program Office
expanded the number of adjudications staff by 37% and grew the number of support staff by 20% from the prior fiscal year.
There was a marked increase in EB-5 filings as FY15 drew to a close, presumably due to the potential sunset of the regional center program, the high demand for visa numbers and the desire to lock in a priority date. Absent reauthorizing legislation, the EB-5 regional center program will lapse on December 11, 2015.
In FY15, USCIS more than doubled the embedded Fraud Detection and National Security staff devoted to EB-5 and more than tripled the number of overseas verification requests sent to post in support of the adjudication of EB-5 applications and petitions. USCIS is also preparing to launch a domestic site visit pilot program in support of EB-5-related adjudications in FY16.
Stakeholder engagement continues to be a critical part of efforts to improve both program efficiency and integrity and in FY15 USCIS offered a new series of EB-5 informational series to enhance engagement with the stakeholder community. In April 2015, the Secretary of Homeland Security approved protocols related to the ethical administration of the EB-5 program. USCIS provided training on these protocols to all DHS and USCIS employees and contractors involved in policy-making, evaluation, or review of the EB-5 program or the adjudication of any particular EB-5-related petitions or applications.