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