EB-5 Changes Imminent as Washington’s Dysfunction Continues

I am sitting in Doha, Qatar, waiting for my connection, and it just dawned on me that this whole business of trying to predict the future of EB-5 has become less of a “science” and more of an interpretive study in human dynamics since the launch of this most-unpredictable Trumpian era.  We are all still blogging away speculating about what MIGHT come but as EB-5 expert Suzanne Lazicki noted in her recent entry, the fact is that there has been nary a mention of EB-5 during these recent, extraordinarily weird weeks.  If we who live and breathe EB-5 can’t make heads or tails out of what is happening, what must the world of potential investors considering EB-5 be thinking?

I dislike politics, and there is a lot to dislike about the politics of America today.  But the absolute lack of accountability expressed by the USG toward U.S. EB-5 investors whose U.S. immigration lags on and on intolerably is nothing new to the current administration.   As a result, 8 month I-526 processing times promised by the USG to EB-5 investors have grown to 24 months, despite the promise that the dramatic fee increases of 2016 would result in dramatic improvements in processing times.   Concurrently, EB-5 projects in poor urban and rural areas cannot compete with Manhattan high-rises located in blatantly fake TEAs and sporting two-page color spreads in the luxury magazines.  EB-5 is tragically caught in a quagmire of conflicting interests, political infighting, and an overworked EB-5 team trying to work wonders despite lacking the human resources they were promised.  All of this, ironically, is the result of things OTHER than EB-5 quarrels…consider just this past week at the White House:

  • President Trump, who got elected raging against immigration, holds a bipartisan, partially televised meeting supporting a solution for DACA, leaving the impression that a solution was imminent.
  • Almost at the same time, the USG announces that the 200,000 Salvadoreans who have been permitted to live and work in the U.S. based on the several crises situations in their country have to go home…as in “now.”
  • Legitimate debate over the value of Diversity Visa (visa lottery) program and limits on multigenerational immigration grinds to a halt when Trump, in front of many members of Congress, calls African and other less-developed nations “shitholes”  (i.e., countries on the Diversity Visa list…just like my own birthplace, Cuba.)
  • Trump then denies what everyone heard loud and clearly – except two conveniently suddenly-hearing-impaired Republicans – and changes the subject back to “the Wall”.

And so we went from smiling bipartisanship to a true danger of losing control of needed immigration reform in the matter of three days, and in four days, America AGAIN runs out of money barring yet another continuing resolution.  As U.S. ambassadors overseas are being summoned by presidents and prime ministers from all over the world to explain the “shithole” comment, Trump supporters cheer his words.  It is disheartening that after so many years of social progress in America, the undertones of racism continue to grow loudly into overtones among too many of our brethren.

Despite all of the foregoing, I will say this as a proud immigrant whose family was welcomed in America 50+ years ago when Castro was raping and pillaging Cuba: the U.S. system of government is unimpeachable in its integrity, and our core humanitarian values and sense of compassion as Americans shall never be undermined.  America’s democracy is built to take a licking and keep on ticking, and it shall continue as the beacon of freedom irrespective of our internal political disarray.  The U.S. Constitution is immune from the petty attacks of politicians and others who would dilute the essence of what makes our country what it is. Period.

In the meantime, as all the top-tier immigration issues make the headlines, the once-a-month EB-5 clock ticks on.  If there is any GOOD news amidst the Washington immigration madness, it is the very fact of the silence surrounding EB-5.  On Friday, the most recent temporary extension expires and the way the fists are flying in Washington over OTHER matters of immigration, I suspect they will simply do another extension without changes to the EB-5 law, probably a very short one.

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO REMEMBER: the February target date for the new EB-5 regulations, which will dramatically increase the price of EB-5 investment in a TEA project from $500,000 to $1,350,000, seems more and more solid as the process is outside of the scope of the political infighting.  Stay tuned to AVSEB5 for updates as the immigration battle royale continues.