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Trump Issuing Executive Order Limiting Work Visas

As his poll number continue to drop and reelection hopes dim, Donald Trump is again weaponizing US immigration policy to energize his most aggressive, anti-immigrant voter base.  He is expected to sign an executive order on Monday that would suspend temporary visas for foreign workers until the end of 2020, infuriating US business and industry groups who rely on foreign talent.  The freeze will apply to H-1B visas designed for high-skilled workers, particularly in the tech industry, and H-2B visas used by seasonal workers, such as in the construction and hospitality industries. Others that are impacted are H-4 visas given to spouses of H-1B visa holders; L-1 visas for executives who work for large corporations; and some J-1 visas for scholars and professors.

Just days after the Supreme Court struck down the Trump administration’s effort to wind down the DACA program to shield those brought to the country illegally as children from deportation, this surprise move now targets US business interests directly, a direct reflection of the administration’s desperation amidst a catastrophically botched federal COVID-19 response, Trump’s effort to deny equal protection to transgender individuals, and numerous personal and political scandals plaguing reelection efforts.   The libertarian Cato Institute, known for its pragmatic view toward policy, said suspending the L-1 visa for foreign corporate executives would hurt the American economy as it is a “crucial tool for growth and innovation and the administration will hurt the [US economic]  recovery by ending it.”

While Trump’s heavy-handed use of Executive Orders to effectively legislate in violation of the Constitution has worked in the past, this blatant political maneuver targeting foreign professionals and executives who are key figures in the US economic recovery is already backfiring.  Likely to be challenged in court if it materializes, the White House will now spend the next week hearing aggressive resistance from the conservative/rational Republican business base.    Targeting critical temporary visas is yet another self-defeating maneuver by a President whose inability to look beyond his own agenda is precisely what is reflected in the poll numbers terrifying him.  His rabid, anti-immigrant base has no idea what these visa categories even are; his rapidly-fading group of Republican interest groups, on the other hand, understand international business and how this is just another colossal example of this President yet again shooting himself in the foot.

Attorney José E. Latour

AS THE US ECONOMY FALTERS, THE CRACKS IN BIG EB-5 EMERGE

Last week, one of the EB-5 program’s biggest players announced that they were stopping payments due to EB-5 investors because of volatility caused by the pandemic.  Citing “extremely challenging conditions” in the residential condo market, that was that, leaving its investors wondering about their investments, their EB-5 process, and a lot more.  While we see no need to name this giant company, they are hardly alone:  hundreds of US developers relying on EB-5 capital raised via fraudulent TEAs are lurching as the economy falters and the house of cards they have built with EB-5 investor funds comes tumbling down.

EB-5 Regional Program Extended Until 11-21-19

Yesterday, Congress passed and the President signed a  Continuing Resolution (a temporary extension of funding) extending the EB-5 Regional Center Program through November 21, the day when new EB-5 reforms kick in.   On November 21, AVS EB-5 will be one among a handful of Regional Centers offering bona fide TEA/Rural area projects at the new $900,000 TEA level investment amount.   The other 90+% of EB-5 projects on the market will now require a minimum investment of $1.8M.

AVS – $500K Direct EB-5 Slots

With only 3 months to go before the price of EB-5 jumps from $500K TEA/$1M non-TEA to $900K TEA/$1.8M non-TEA, AVS EB5 is getting many inquiries from last-minute investors wanting to beat the clock.  As I explain below, we DO have a few DIRECT EB-5 slots remaining at the $500K level, but we are deferring the launch of our next Regional Center project offering until AFTER the price change.  Sounds crazy, right?  It isn’t.  Here’s the problem: Regional Center projects rely on complex econometric modeling to count jobs.  Let’s say a Regional Center project is raising $20M in EB-5 capital and is halfway there by November.  That means the first half of the investors in the EB-5 limited partnership will be $500K investors, but if the project is among the 95% of current projects on the market with false TEA status, that means the OTHER half of the investors will