20 Mar Wasted Opportunity? Senator Grassley Calls to Terminate EB-5 Regional Center Program
by Mona Shah, Esq.
Earlier today, it was announced that the long-awaited compromise reform and re-authorization legislation of the EB-5 Regional Center Program would not be included in the upcoming omnibus spending bill to be passed by Congress, March 23, 2018. In other words, efforts to bring much-need changes and stability to the program were stymied once more. While warning calls to file documentation prior to the program’s sunset date were once again false alarms, it should be noted that this was the closest that we have been to seeing new legislation in place in three years. While the bill was not perfect, it had the support of nearly all of EB-5’s leading industry stakeholders, including the unanimous approval of IIUSA and EB-5 Rural Alliance – making this missed chance even more regrettable.
As Senator Grassley puts it: “[The EB-5] program originally had a good purpose. In return for investing money in under-served areas and creating good paying American jobs, immigrant-entrepreneurs could eventually become U.S. citizens. Sadly, in the last decade this program has been hijacked by big-moneyed New York City real estate interests. These developers now take almost all the foreign investment from this program, and for the last few years they’ve actively prevented this body from enacting any reforms.”
Indeed, it truly is unfortunate that the much-needed reforms could not be achieved, despite broad support. The program is now once more in limbo, with Senator Grassley calling for the program to be terminated altogether as the specter of the new DHS Proposed Regulations looms near and close to adoption. For now, there will most likely be yet another short-term extension to the program.
Link to Senator Grassley’s comments: https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/grassley-big-money-interests-again-block-reforms-corrupt-eb-5-visa-program