I believe, however, that challenges are always best met…with a smile. Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” To the association’s credit, that is exactly what it did. In fact, IIUSA built several, and that work, that optimism, helped land IIUSA on solid ground ready start 2019 on very energetic and positive footing.
Despite any challenges, IIUSA ended 2018 with clarity and purpose.
- The association instituted new advocacy strategies that put IIUSA and its members in front of more than 70 Congressional offices in less than six weeks. Many had no idea about the benefits EB-5 provides communities and investors. They do now.
- For the first time, IIUSA’s board of directors met personally with USCIS Director Francis Cissna and his staff to discuss common goals and how the industry and Agency can work together.
- We are working productively with the EB-5 Investment Coalition (EB5IC) to further a true “industry bill” that, when introduced in the 116th Congress, will provide for a full five-year reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program.
- Through an amicus brief, the association proudly supported Ira Kurzban and his efforts to clarify how the Administration counts “derivative” visas.
- We recognized our members’ contributions to the industry and at our first-ever EB-5 Industry Achievement Banquet in Washington, DC.
- IIUSA launched its first educational platform, a membership service (opening to non-members in 2019) that gives users important and applicable EB-5 information. The first available module, “EB-5 Basics,” provides basic knowledge to newcomers, policy-makers, and the media.
- During the fourth quarter, IIUSA began laying the groundwork to expand the association’s base, perspectives, and political capital to include economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, and local municipalities.
- We also began planning to bring the best of EB-5 to the media’s doorstep through strategic grassroots events that highlight rural and urban EB-5 success stories.
In 2018, IIUSA built and opened each one of these doors and still:
- grew its presence in investor markets such as India, Vietnam, and South Korea; and
- continued to produce industry-leading reports on investor market statistics and published our fourth peer-reviewed economic impact study of the EB-5 Program.
This holiday season I am grateful for the opportunity to join the IIUSA family. I am impressed with the community’s tenacity and encouraged by the progress we made as 2018 comes to an end. Moreover, I am excited about the doors we built; those on which opportunity is already knocking and through which we will enter a very healthy and productive New Year!
On behalf of all the IIUSA officers, directors, and staff, I wish you a very happy holiday season and look forward to working with you to champion the EB-5 Regional Center industry in 2019 and beyond.
IIUSA Executive Director