The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has long been marred with stories of fraud and fakery, but the picture the media paints is far from the reality of the program. While there have indeed been cases of fraud in the EB-5 program—there will always be a minority of bad actors in the world—the vast majority of EB-5 projects involve honest businesspeople and entrepreneurs looking to establish a successful business that creates jobs in their community.
The negative press toward the EB-5 program has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to unfounded rumors that President Trump was considering relaxing EB-5 requirements as part of a coronavirus relief bill. Senator Lindsey Graham, who was purported to have headed the initiative, has vehemently denied the allegations, but the damage to EB-5’s reputation had already been done.
Combined with the extremely low adjudication volumes at the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) in FY2019, the situation has fueled animosity toward the program domestically and doubt among prospective EB-5 investors abroad. If the EB-5 industry fails to take action, the future of the program could be in jeopardy.
Sharing Positive EB-5 Stories
EB5 Investors Magazine has decided to combat the negative press and launch an initiative to promote all the good impacts the EB-5 program has had on the United States and everyday U.S. citizens. Given the media stories of EB-5 fraud engraved in the public’s minds, the only way to fight back is with positive press showcasing the economic prosperity and jobs the EB-5 program has brought to the United States.
The magazine is inviting EB-5 regional centers and project companies to submit their stories of successful EB-5 projects that have brought benefits to the American people. The idea of the campaign is to show policy makers, industry professionals, prospective participants, and everyday U.S. citizens how the EB-5 program helps the United States and creates wealth and prosperity in the nation.
Holding USCIS Accountable
The negative press only accounts for a portion of the EB-5 program’s woes in 2020. The low adjudication rates at the IPO since the takeover by Sarah Kendall in FY2019 have been eroding trust and confidence in the program among investors and professionals alike, with some investors opting to pursue immigration programs in other countries instead. However, if United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is held accountable for its failure to do its job, the prospects for the EB-5 program may improve and investors may turn back to the program.
The IIUSA Public Policy Committee is preparing to confront USCIS about its slow and unreasonable adjudication practices in FY2019 and FY2020. Requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) have been issued with increasing frequency under Kendall’s leadership, and a trend of unreasonable requests in these documents has emerged. If you have received an unreasonable request in an RFE or NOID, please black out the personal information and send the document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calling on Congress to Recognize the Merits of the EB-5 Program
IIUSA has a second initiative: a public letter of support for the EB-5 program addressed to Congress. The letter details the many benefits the EB-5 program has brought to the United States, including generating $20.6 billion in investments and 731,792 jobs between 2008 and 2015. EB-5 stakeholders, project developers, and businesses all around the country are invited to voice their support for the EB-5 program and all the good it brings to the United States.