IIUSA Supports Bicameral, Bipartisan Agreement by Judiciary Committee Leaders to Reform and Reauthorize EB-5

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Industry trade association supports reform and reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program as part of the omnibus appropriations legislation.

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The Invest In the USA (IIUSA) Board of Directors has voted unanimously in support of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement among the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to reform and reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”). The vote followed a review of draft legislation which is the result of extensive discussions among Congressional leaders and industry stakeholders that began with the last Program reauthorization in 2012 and continued throughout the 113th Congress (2013-2014) in the context of broader immigration reform efforts and current 114th Congress (2015-2016).

Under EB-5, a program created by Congress in 1992 with broad bipartisan support, foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 or $1,000,000 in approved U.S. businesses are eligible for permanent residency if the U.S. government confirms that their investment created at least 10 American jobs within two years of the investment.

Congress has not addressed needed EB-5 program reforms since its inception, despite explosive growth in the Program. After years of underutilization, EB-5 became an important source of investment capital following the Great Recession. Since 2008, the Program has generated more than $13 billion in foreign direct investment that created tens of thousands of jobs, and there currently is more than $9 billion in EB-5 capital pending approval at USCIS.

“The EB-5 Program has finally come into its own, and with this tremendous growth comes a need for reform,” said IIUSA Executive Director Peter Joseph. “We greatly appreciate the hard work that Senator Grassley, Senator Leahy, Congressman Goodlatte, Congressman Conyers, Congressman Issa, Congresswoman Lofgren and the Judiciary Committee staff have devoted to crafting a thoughtful bill that will strengthen needed oversight, national security and securities enforcement activities that the IIUSA has long encouraged and supported. These reforms are important to the program reauthorization and should be enacted now.”

In a letter sent to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, IIUSA communicated its support for moving ahead with the legislation and outlined the organization’s priorities for re-authorization. The organization believes that, on balance, the bill’s provisions achieve real reform with minimal disruption to ongoing job-creating economic activity and a fair market for attracting investors going forward. A discussion draft of the legislation was issued this morning on behalf of the bipartisan, bicameral judiciary committee leadership managing the bill’s passage. An outline of the proposal can be found here.

“Throughout the negotiation process, IIUSA remained hopeful that our shared commitment to strengthening program integrity and improving the program’s effectiveness as a job creation tool would lead to a long-term reauthorization that addressed concerns expressed by Members of Congress and federal oversight agencies as well as the interests of the industry. These reforms are urgently needed and the time is now to enact this important bi-partisan agreement so IIUSA’s members can continue their work creating American jobs. We want to thank the Committee for the opportunity to provide input based on the real-world experience of our members,” said Joseph.

Founded in 2005, IIUSA is the national non-profit trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center industry with a mission of advocacy, education, industry development and research. The organization represents more than 280 Regional Center members and 230 associate members, collectively representing big and small projects, urban and rural economic development, and industry sectors ranging from real estate and manufacturing to energy and infrastructure. IIUSA’s members are engines of economic growth and job creation, accounting for over 95 percent of capital flowing through the Program.

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