In the absence of legislative reforms, I believe Congress should indeed consider allowing the program to expire.
L. Francis Cissna | Director
US Citizenship & Immigration Services
What is wrong with the Program?
National Security Threat
EB-5 operates as a cash-for-visa program. Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the program permits foreign nationals to apply for a conditional visa by making a $1,000,000 investment in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.
Alternatively, visa-seekers can invest $500,000 in a “targeted employment area”—areas that are rural or have high unemployment. Once certain job creation requirements are considered satisfied, the visa holder can apply for a green card (i.e., permanent residence).
The program is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), a component agency of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). Click here for more background on the program from the USCIS Director Francis Cissna.
The Regional Center Program was added in 1992 as a pilot program and is set to expire September 30. Regional centers are third-parties approved by USCIS to pool EB-5 investments from foreign nationals to distribute to American development projects. Regional centers are typically privately-owned, for-profit companies, through which nearly all EB-5 visas are now granted. The Regional Center program is also the source of much of the fraud in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
What can be done?
The EB-5 Regional Center Program expires on September 30. Congress should allow it to expire.