EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 2 Issue 2 | Page 53

Legislation Proposes Bright Future for EB-5 In this issue of EB5 Investors Magazine we take a closer look at pending EB-5 legislation that is supportive of positive change in the EB-5 program. In this issue, we present four important bills, along with commentary from key sponsors. Additionally, we’ve asked the experts—our readers and online community—for their wish list of EB-5 reforms, to strengthen the chorus calling for a healthy EB-5 program. Don’t miss out on Congressman Jared Polis’s take on the benefits of the EB-5 program. As the EB-5 program becomes a more prominent and important financing mechanism for U.S. businesses and developers, legislation on the issue abounds. Stakeholders have long called for reforms to the program that arguably has not met its full potential due to a lack of clear regulatory guidance, inconsistent adjudications, and lengthy processing times. Lawmakers have heeded the demand for legislative relief and there are no less than four pieces of legislation currently being contemplated by the Congress. Though each bill differs in the details, they all address a core concern and would convert the EB-5 regional center pilot program into a permanent fixture of the U.S. immigration laws. The most longstanding piece of legislation currently in play is the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), the Senate immigration bill. Through an amendment introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Act proposes a myriad of reforms meant to streamline the program, but also protect against fraud and security concerns. Introduced in April 2013, and passed by the Senate in June of that year, so far this bill has advanced the farthest of the bunch, though it remains unclear whether comprehensive immigration reform will be the vehicle for changes in the EB-5 program. This bill was repackaged as H.R. 15 in the House and must pass in its entirety. H.R. 15 has already confronted severe opposition from the Republican majority despite bi-partisan support in the Senate. In another robust immigration bill—the SKILLS Visa Act—Rep. Darrell Issa and other House Republicans have proposed many similar EB-5 reforms. Proposed in the House in May 2013, and passed out of the House Judiciary committee in June 2013, this bill is the only piece of legislation covered in this article that is strictly a partisan effort. Like the Senate imm