Immigrant investors on edge as EB-5 lapse enters eighth month

“I have no idea what’s going to happen with getting even the investment back, let alone the green card,” said Sharad Reddy, a California-based EB-5 investor whose application was stalled by the lapse. “I might end up losing my money and not end up getting my green card at the end of the day.”

Congressional battles

The program’s lapse came amid a congressional stalemate over proposed “integrity” measures to make the EB-5 program, which has been rocked by high-profile scandals, less vulnerable to fraud.

For years, Sens. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., whose home state dealt with one such EB-5 fraud case related to a ski resort, and Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, tried to usher through bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the regional center program for five years while adding in more safeguards to prevent fraud.

The EB-5 regional center program’s expiration date had been tied to federal government spending bills. But in December 2020, the program’s sunset was decoupled from annual appropriations and given an end date of June 30, 2021. Grassley made a last-ditch attempt to pass his bill to reauthorize and revise the program through unanimous consent in June, but Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., shot it down.

Since then, the regional center program has been left to languish, and the green card seekers who already made their investments with it.

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