EB5 investor immigration program escapes Trump ban as supporters push for expansion
When President Trump tweeted: “In light of the attack by the invisible enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our BIG US citizens, I will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States ! many immigrants and longtime observers of immigration policy were confused as to what he was doing. It was Monday April 19e, 2020. The next day, administration officials rushed to prepare the presidential proclamation for signature, while trying to limit the potential damage the sweeping announcement had to the American. economy.
Two days later, the declaration was ready and Trump signed it. Even then, not everyone was sure which US immigration programs would be affected by the proclamation. One program in particular was of concern to many immigrant investors, namely the EB-5 Investor Immigration Program.
This program was started in 1990 to attract investment to the United States and create jobs for Americans. A few years later, Congress created an additional component of the EB5 program that established regional centers authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to handle foreign investment and create jobs. It has become the most popular version of the program. When the president signed the proclamation at first, it was not clear whether the EB5 program was part of the ban.
Later that same day, however, the Investor Immigration Insider reported, that “the immigration ban will have no tangible impact … on people applying for an EB-5 visa today, although it may delay the removal of conditions for those currently awaiting the auction of their I-829. The EB-5 community collectively breathed a sigh of relief.
Seeking to explain why the program was excluded from the presidential decree, the EB5 Daily later wrote, “The EB-5 program is not restricted or limited by the proclamation, possibly because it is a job-creating program. Each investor in the EB-5 program must create 10 full-time jobs for American workers in order to meet the program’s requirements. Therefore, it is in fact a boon to the United States during this economic downturn and the uncertainty of unemployment. In addition, EB-5 investors must invest a minimum of $ 900,000 in a US investment project, which means they are very well-off individuals and families who will not be a drain on US social programs.
But then, four prominent senators, led by
Senator Tom Cotton (Rep. Ark.), Sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to expand the proclamation to include the EB5 program as well as other immigration visas. They wroteFinally, with regard to your presidential proclamation issued on April 22, 2020, we are writing to urge you to remove the exemption from the EB-5 program, at least until real reforms are passed. The EB-5 program has long been plagued by scandals and fraud, and has been criticized as functioning effectively as a citizenship pay system in many instances. There is no reason why the EB-5 program should receive preferential treatment over other green card programs for employed immigrants.
Invest in the United States (IIUSA) immediately came to defense of the EB5 program. In response to Cotton’s inspirational letter, they wrote: “We find the position of senators to shut down the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program deeply troubling. They added, “The EB-5 program is a proven tool for job creation and retention. In this regard, it appeared to them that the White House was not aware that “between 2008 and 2015, the EB-5 program generated more than $ 20 billion in economic investments which created more than 730,000 American jobs ”. They pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office has found that the EB-5 program is self-financing and that administrative costs are paid by candidate fees. This is particularly important in view of the recent new that USCIS could run out of money by the end of the summer.
Regarding concerns about much needed reforms, Aaron Grau, Executive Director of IIUSA, said: “The IIUSA has been at the forefront of working with Congress and the administration to bring about the necessary reforms. in the program. We strongly support surveillance and reform to allow even more investment in the United States. On the elimination of the EB5 program, Bernard Wolfsdorf, an American immigration lawyer and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, speaking at a recent investor immigration conference held in Hong Kong, wondered why, with so many Americans losing their jobs, would the administration want to eliminate this highly successful job-creating American investor immigration program? Rather, in his view, the program should be improved and expanded.