The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has enjoyed immense popularity for many years and has long been considered one of the best ways to immigrate to the United States. EB-5 investment capital provides U.S. businesses with much-needed funds while enabling foreign nationals to apply for permanent resident status and relocate to the United States with their families. Despite the EB-5 program’s popularity and resounding success, many of the current policies established by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) disfavor the program—the EB-5 investment industry is in dire need of reform.
Given these circumstances, many industry members celebrated the Senate’s confirmation of Ur Jaddou as the new director of USCIS on July 30, 2021. Since Jaddou has extensive experience working in the U.S. immigration system, many believe that she will help solve the issues that plague USCIS and the EB-5 program.
Prior to her appointment as director of USCIS, Jaddou has served as the agency’s general counsel, majority chief counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, and director of DHS Watch. She was also a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department.
The Senate’s confirmation of Jaddou’s appointment is especially noteworthy because USCIS has been led by temporary acting directors for many years—surely, a more permanent directorship will result in sorely needed improvements to USCIS and the EB-5 investment industry.
Possible Changes to USCIS Policies
Jaddou has stated that she will work on solving USCIS’s funding issues. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic decrease in immigration petitions. Since much of USCIS’s budget comes from application fees, it announced a massive furlough scheduled for August 2020. Even though the furlough was ultimately averted thanks to tighter spending policies, USCIS desperately needs to return to solvency.
Perhaps the most important issue affecting the EB5 investment industry is USCIS’s notoriously slow petition processing times, which have caused stagnant visa backlogs for investors from numerous countries. In fact, China has experienced a backlog since May 2015. Given USCIS’s history of inefficiency, Jaddou will certainly have a lot of work to do to expedite the adjudication process for EB-5 applications.
Reactions to Jaddou’s Appointment
Many Republicans have openly expressed their distrust of Jaddou. However, her nomination was supported by numerous Democrats and agencies such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council. Many singled her out as the ideal candidate, citing her experience and promising track record. For example, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that Jaddou will “administer our Nation’s immigration system fairly and justly. As the daughter of hard-working immigrants, Ur understands how immigrant families enrich our country and the challenges they face.”