Recently, I was surprised to hear Nicholas Colucci tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that USCIS does not possess the authority to terminate Regional Centers that break laws. More specifically, Mr. Colucci testified:
Authorizing USCIS to Act Quickly on Criminal and Security Concerns: USCIS lacks explicit statutory authority to terminate a regional center for criminal or security concerns. Under current regulations, USCIS may terminate a regional center’s designation if the regional center is no longer promoting economic growth or fails to submit required information to USCIS (on an annual basis, on a cumulative basis, and/or as otherwise requested) on Form I-924A. Criminal activity or national security concerns are not provided as a basis to terminate a regional center. Currently, in instances where USCIS has criminal or security concerns about a regional center, USCIS has to either demonstrate these concerns are related to the regional center’s failure to promote economic growth or demonstrate the regional center’s failure to promote economic growth separately from any criminal or security concerns, which is an unnecessarily lengthy and circuitous route to terminate a regional center.
I believe that USCIS has the authority right now to terminate Regional Centers involved in illegal activities, and I will prove my point in this position paper. Regional Centers that disregard U.S. law impose negative external costs on other industry participants, on government/law enforcement agencies, and upon society. By breaking the laws that govern our society and imposing negative costs on others, these Regional Centers by definition are not promoting economic growth. Therefore, USCIS can and should terminate them.
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Not every good project is a good EB-5 project.
As an experienced developer, you can identify a good project when one comes along. You look for something feasible, legal, profitable, and ethical. However, you might not realize that your good project might be a poor fit within the framework of the EB-5 immigrant investor program. A good EB-5 project focuses first on job-creating potential, a variable that is probably not part of your usual vetting checklist, and one that is not readily measurable. This article aims to provide you with some road signs on your way to a project that makes both good business sense and good EB-5 sense.
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The Undervalued Side of EB-5
Recently, proposed legislation has shown that many on Capitol Hill undervalue or misunderstand the concept of model-derived jobs in the EB-5 context. This misunderstanding stems from two sources: the fitful evolution of USCIS’ job-creation policy and a general lack of trust for economic impact modeling. The purpose of this article to inform readers about both of these sources of confusion, including the quality and limitations of economic modeling in the EB-5 context. My goal is to help provide a solid basis for future legislative drafting. The EB-5 industry needs thorough, well-considered legislation and regulation in order to maintain integrity and create jobs for Americans.
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As the former Chief Economist of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), I need to
comment on the 10 September 2015 Wall Street Journal article entitled “U.S. Visa-for- Cash
Funds Luxury Towers.” I hope the concepts outlined in this White Paper will also be considered
by Members of Congress who are weighing additional legislation concerning EB-5 Targeted
Employment Areas (TEAs).