Dogs are loyal, reliable, and predictable, which is why we love them. These are exactly the qualities we need in the EB-5 arena to keep the job-creating immigration program a stimulus for economic development in the future. Since September 2012, Congress has pushed reform on the EB-5 Regional Center Program down the line nine times, and it appears it will do so again prior to December 22, 2017. Most likely we will get another short Continuing Resolution extension to January 19, 2018, followed by regulations designed to reform the program, or new legislation, or possibly even both.
But don’t wag your tail too hard. Unfortunately, the long-standing uncertainty surrounding the EB-5 Regional Center program has created significant confusion in the marketplace, with a potential to cause irreparable harm to U.S. companies that are relying on EB-5 investment. This is not a case where a barking dog doesn’t bite… according to recent statistics, there was a 62% decrease in the number of Form I-526 filings from Q3 to Q4 of FY 2017.
Predictability, and a solution for the lengthy Chinese waiting line, is critical for the continued viability of the EB-5 Program. As is relief for child derivatives who may “age out” and who should be allowed to keep their parent’s priority date. For the thousands of parents who saved and invested for their children’s future, discovering that their children may no longer qualify for an immigrant visa because USCIS refuses to follow congressional intent to allow entry of 10,000 investor families (not 3,000 investors and their families) is tragic. Congress’ inability to come to an agreement on EB-5 reform has created a dog’s dinner.
Congress needs to be bold again and take a giant leap forward to save hundreds of U.S. companies creating thousands of jobs for U.S. workers. While the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017, which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the “per country” numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, is gaining steam, it does not go far enough. It’s time that Congress recognizes the vital importance of the EB-5 Regional Center, and to be dogged in their negotiations to save the program.
We must see changes to the EB-5 Regional Program in the Year of the Dog, either through a legislative reform package in Congress or the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will move forward with a final rule on regulations, to maintain this important economic engine.