14 Feb Representing EB-5 Stakeholders on Capitol Hill with Aaron Grau of IIUSA – Episode 73
IIUSA is the trade association designated to represent the interests of the EB-5 industry and influence policy decisions on Capitol Hill. In this episode, Mona and Mark sit down with Aaron Grau to discuss the current status of the EB-5 program and the legislation IIUSA is drafting at present. Listen in for insight into IIUSA’s efforts to reach out to diverse stakeholders and learn how the organization is working to ensure that the industry’s voice is heard in DC.
The value of a trade association lies in its ability to make a substantive impact on policy. For the EB-5 program, IIUSA is the organization tasked with communicating stakeholder priorities to the staffers who advise members of Congress and ultimately influencing EB-5 policy on Capitol Hill. So, how does IIUSA represent the divergent interests of various EB-5 stakeholders? How does the organization ensure that its message is relayed to policymakers? And what is IIUSA working on right now?
Aaron Grau is the new Executive Director of IIUSA, the national membership-based nonprofit for the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Today, he joins Mona and Mark to discuss the current status of EB-5 and offer his predictions around the reauthorization of the program. He shares the legislation IIUSA is developing now and explains why creating stability is the first step in securing additional visas for immigrant investors.
Aaron also speaks to his efforts to reach out to stakeholders including the Alliance for Rural Impact and USCIS, describing their joint efforts to protect the integrity of EB-5. Listen in to understand the strategies IIUSA employs to influence policy decisions and learn how expanding the program could facilitate incredible progress for the US economy AND provide extraordinary opportunities for foreign investors.
The Role of IIUSA
- IIUSA came about after the establishment of the Regional Center Program. It’s purpose as a trade association for the EB-5 industry is to protect, further and improve the program for investors as well as the communities they benefit.
- Aaron was inspired to become the executive director of the program because of its pivotal role in economic development in the US. His interest in trade associations in general stems from their ability to make a substantive impact on policy.
The Current Climate of EB-5
- Aaron is confident that the EB-5 program isn’t going anywhere. He predicts that the Regional Center Program will be reauthorized temporarily through the end of 2019.
- At present, IIUSA is working with industry stakeholders to develop a robust piece of legislation that will extend the Regional Center Program for six years. In addition, the organization has educated new staffers and members of Congress around the benefits of EB-5 so that they will be receptive to the proposal.
Aaron’s Insight on Proposed Changes to EB-5
- For some time, there has been talk of raising the minimum investment amount and securing additional visas for EB-5. But Aaron doesn’t see these changes happening anytime soon.
- IIUSA’s first priority is to reauthorize the program. Presenting a cohesive message around reauthorization will give Aaron and his team a strong footing, allowing them to go back to Congress and ask for more visas in the future.
Reaching Out to EB-5 Stakeholders
- To present a strong voice for the industry on Capitol Hill, IIUSA has reached out to stakeholders such as the Alliance for Rural Impact and USCIS. Together, all of these groups can work to protect the integrity of the EB-5 program and the immigrant investors who make it possible.
- In addition, IIUSA facilitates events overseas to identify and educate potential investors about the program. Whereas less reputable groups may circulate misinformation about EB-5, IIUSA is committed to providing aspiring immigrant investors with an accurate understanding of the process.
How IIUSA Influences Policy
- IIUSA is responsible for taking the priorities of all stakeholders to Capitol Hill and communicating them to the Congressional staffers who advise policymakers on EB-5. Aaron and his team share the policy positions that are best for the program in general and explain how EB-5 impacts the constituents they represent.
- Aaron can’t guarantee that staffers are sharing IIUSA’s information with the members of Congress they support. However, he does bring in constituents who have benefitted from EB-5 and encourage people to weigh in with calls and emails to keep the program front and center.
Representing Divergent Interests
- Every trade association faces the challenge of making sure ALL its member’s voices are heard and finding compromises among divergent interests. IIUSA is committed to listening to all of its different stakeholders and ensuring that their opinions are included in policy decisions.
- All EB-5 stakeholders would benefit from stability of the program. Aaron argues that continuing EB-5 indefinitely and increasing the number of visas to 100K would facilitate incredible progress for the US economy and provide extraordinary opportunities for foreign investors.