Good news for the EB-5 community: Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has officially been confirmed by the Senate. Mayorkas, whose family fled Cuba for Los Angeles when he was just an infant, built an impressive legal career for himself before diving into politics, serving in positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations. He previously headed United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), promoting and fostering the EB-5 program from the severely underused state he inherited it in. With a streak of successes behind him, Mayorkas was among the first cabinet nominees announced by Biden, and his appointment as secretary of DHS is welcome news to EB-5 investment stakeholders everywhere.
Mayorkas’s confirmation was supposed to come sooner, but some Republican senators, notably Josh Hawley (R-MO), objected to the fast-tracked confirmation, triggering a more rigorous background check into the nominee. However, when a vote was held the next week, a number of Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, voted in line with the Democrats to speed up the confirmation. Another week later, the vote for Mayorkas’s confirmation was held, and the Senate voted to confirm him as the secretary of DHS.
As head of DHS, Mayorkas will oversee UCSIS and its various programs, including the EB-5 program. Unless his priorities have shifted from his time in the Obama administration, he is likely to usher in favorable changes to the EB-5 program, restoring the residency-by-investment program to its former glory. The White House has already announced President Biden’s proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which promises a major overhaul to the U.S. immigration system, packed with policy changes that could dramatically improve the situation for EB5 investment participants. As secretary of DHS, Mayorkas will occupy an important role for the rollout of these wide-ranging changes, and his partiality to the EB-5 program could bode well for those involved in EB-5 investments.
Mayorkas’s takeover of DHS comes at an opportune time for the EB-5 Regional Center Program as well. With a sunset date of June 30, 2021, the ever-popular regional center program is hurtling toward the most likely termination in years, having been divorced from the year-end government funding bill it is normally associated with. EB-5 industry leaders believe the only way to save the EB-5 Regional Center Program may be to enact large-scale reform, but it’s a race against time to unite the EB-5 world and work toward the needed policy changes. Having already proven himself a valuable ally of the EB-5 program, Mayorkas could further the fight for reform and permanent authorization, which would constitute a major boon for EB-5 investment participants.