EB-5 regional center operators challenge new registration requirement

EB-5 program helped generate $37.4 billion in foreign direct investment for US jobs between 2008 and 2021, according to IIUSA

Five leading EB-5 Regional Center operators, along with the EB-5 trade organization Invest in the USA (IIUSA) have filed a lawsuit against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) challenging its new registration requirement.

The lawsuit filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia on May 25 challenges the unilateral deauthorization by USCIS of the over 600 designated regional centers existing at the time that the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) was enacted into law.

Read: What the new reformed EB-5 visa program brings along (March 18, 2022)

It also challenges the USCIS interpretation of the RIA that requires every regional center to apply anew for designation and receive approval as such before commencing operations.

The five regional centers – Golden Gate Global, CanAm Enterprises, Civitas Capital Group, EB5 Capital and Pine State Regional Center – and IIUSA contend that USCIS’s position is contrary to the plain meaning of the RIA and thwarts Congressional intent in enacting the RIA.

“We are putting our different business interests aside and joining forces to reach the common goal of protecting our clients’ rights and continuing to provide needed capital for economic development projects,” the group said in a joint statement.

“Through this action, we seek to protect the viability of this highly successful economic development and job-creating program, the regional centers that facilitate the program, and the foreign investors who participate in the program.

“We believe Congress intended to allow regional centers to immediately get back to the business of EB-5 – while at the same time working to bring themselves quickly into compliance with the new integrity and other requirements of the RIA.

Read: Everything you need to know about EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (March 25, 2022)

“In fact, there is consensus within the EB-5 industry that Congress intended to have the Regional Center program back in business as soon as the RIA was in effect on May 15, 2022,” the group said.

Regional centers allow a foreign entrepreneur to make indirect investments under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to become eligible for a green card.

The required capital investment amounts are the same for direct and regional center investments—that is, $1.8 million, which is reduced to $900,000 within a targeted employment area (TEA).

Collectively, these five long-established operators manage 26 regional centers across 21 states, according to a press release from the group.

Over the years, they have facilitated $5.3 billion in EB-5 investments, developing 143 projects across the country, and they are responsible for the creation of more than 190,000 jobs for US workers.

The EB-5 program has an overwhelmingly positive impact on the US economy. According to the data collected and analyzed by IIUSA, between 2008 and 2021, the EB-5 Program helped generate $37.4 billion in foreign direct investment to create and retain US jobs for Americans, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

Read: Golden Gate Global and other leading EB-5 regional center operators file suit against USCIS (May 25, 2022)

To that end, the plaintiffs have funded the filing of an amicus curiae brief by IIUSA in a separate action against the USCIS by the Behring Regional Center currently pending in the District Court for the Northern District of California.

“We believe a global ruling in the Behring case could serve the industry at large and is worthy of our support,” the group added in their joint statement.

Read: Indians received 17% of all EB-5 investor visas in 2020 (December 28, 2021)

Read: EB-5 investor visa program sees continued delay (December 6, 2021)

Read: Will the EB-5 visa program get current by yearend? (November 29, 2021)

Read: When will the pause in the EB-5 regional program end? (November 17, 2021)

Read: What does expiry of EB-5 program mean for immigrant investors (August 12, 2021)

Read: A window opens to get EB-5 visa with lower investment (June 23, 2021)


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