EB5 Investors Magazine | Page 38

Prospects for EB-5 Legislation in the 114th Congress by Nataliya Binshteyn, Enrique Gonzalez and Laura Foote Reiff In 2012, President Barack Obama signed S. 3245 into law On the other hand, it is encouraging that Senator Sessions – a bill which formally ended the “pilot” nature of the EB-5 has been complimentary of the program since regional centers Regional Center program and extended its ability to receive were established in Alabama. Accordingly, there may yet be a petitions and remit conditional (and full) green cards through way to advance the EB-5 program and immigration reform September 2015. Since then, Congress has attempted to extend more broadly, as the new Congress gets underway. The last the program or rectify its imminent expiration to no avail. time the EB-5 regional center program was reauthorized, Without Congressional reauthorization, the program will end the authorization was part of S. 3245, a larger immigration on September 30 and all existing regional center designations reform bill that also included reauthorizations for the E-Verify will expire automatically. If this occurs, USCIS will no longer program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker possess the authority to approve regional center designations. Program, and the Conrad State 30 J–1 Visa Waiver Program. If the past is any indicator of how EB-5 reauthorization should There is a strong initiative underway by industry stakebe approached, perhaps a bill with a more broad immigration holders and some members of Congress to make the program scope is necessary to affect the types of changes proposed in bills permanent, which would ensure stability for participating like H.R. 616. entrepreneurs, investors, and communities. Permanency would also allow the EB-5 Regional Center Program to continue to strengthen the U.S. economy by creating American investment opportunities and job growth. The value of permanent reauthorization has been advocated for in recent and current bipartisan Congressional legislation. In 2013, the U.S. Senate approved S.744, which would have permanently authorized the Regional Center Program. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives did not vote on the bill before the end of the session in December 2014. In 2015, industry stakeholders’ eyes are turned to the 114th Congress to see if the Pilot Program’s expiration can be resolved. This January, Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced H.R. 616, which contains a number of changes designed to improve the efficacy of the program and benefit investors. It has since been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill takes a strong step in ensuring the future of the EB-5 Regional Center program by augmenting the current program with safeguards and benefits for industry stakeholders. It is often said that deadlines spur action. The 114th Congress has just a few months to extend the deadline or permanently reauthorize the EB-5 program, and the Congressional field should be examined closely by the advocacy community to determine a successful path toward immigration reform. Senator Charl \