Bloomberg Law’s Homeland Security Briefing® provides daily coverage of significant federal, legislative, and state actions related to security and anti-terrorism.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Real Estate Roundtable reached a “backroom deal” that would stymie real changes to the immigrant investor program, Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) claim.
“We are disappointed to learn that your organizations may have recently agreed to a secretive, backroom ‘deal’ that undercuts the many good-faith efforts we have made during the past two years,” Grassley and Leahy said in a March 13 letter to the heads of the two business organizations. “From what we have been told, this so-called ‘deal’ does not advance Congress’s goals for this program and instead is merely aimed at pre-empting the new rules.”
The two senators have been at the forefront of efforts to overhaul the EB-5 program, which allows foreign nationals to obtain green cards if they invest in projects that create U.S. jobs. So far, Congress has enacted short-term extensions of the program without any change.
Grassley and Leahy have called for Congress to let the program sunset absent an overhaul and are concerned that industry lobbying may hamper their ability to reach a deal among their colleagues. The program is set to expire April 28.
“As is fairly typical in the legislative process, stakeholders representing various and at times competing points of view—including the Chamber, the Real Estate Roundtable, the EB-5 Rural Alliance, and others—have been working to develop a feasible, practical proposal that meets the goals of policymakers and the needs of our economy,” Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits, said in a statement provided to Bloomberg BNA.
The EB-5 regional center program has been a topic of contention in recent years after going through several congressional reauthorizations. The regional center program—currently making up the vast majority of EB-5 investments—allows immigrants to pool their investments and count indirect job creation toward the visa requirements.
But some lawmakers have said the program contains too many loopholes that allow for fraud. They also argue that states have been given too much latitude to determine what constitutes a “targeted employment area"—a rural or high-unemployment area that allows immigrants to invest a smaller amount.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has proposed several regulatory changes to the program, which recently garnered praise from lawmakers, including Grassley and Leahy.
In their letter, the senators called the USCIS proposal “a step in the right direction” but said more changes are needed from Congress. Grassley and Leahy said they’re willing to work with industry groups on the legislation but that “our patience is wearing thin and is not endless.”
“We just received the letter and are reviewing it,” Johnson said in his statement. “With that said, we agree with the two Senators that the program needs to be reformed and we have worked for more than two years with their offices and others to meet that goal and will continue to do so.”
A representative for the Real Estate Roundtable didn’t respond to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Laura D. Francis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the letter is available at http://src.bna.com/mZa.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)