On May 21st, IIUSA submitted a 10-page letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary commenting on EB-5 reform recommendations and the reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program before its September 30th sunset date.
The first part of the letter comment on the ideas set forth in the April 27, 2015, letter from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary outlining a series of recommended reforms to the Program. IIUSA puts forth its official position on specific recommendations from Secretary Johnson to enhance the integrity of the EB-5 Program, including:
- Authorize USCIS to Quickly Act on Criminal and Security Concerns
- Protect Investors by Regulating Regional Center Principals and Associated Commercial Enterprises
- Enhance Reporting and Auditing
- Provide Sanction Authority
- Improve Integrity of Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs)
- Increase Minimum Investment Amounts
- Require Business Plan Filings in Advance of Investor Filings
- Contacts with EB-5 Petitioners, Applicants, and Other Stakeholders
- Contacts with Members of the U.S. Congress and Congressional Staff
- Leadership Intervention in Specific EB-5 Cases
- and other important considerations including effective date, maximizing capacity for economic impact and permanent reauthorization
The second part of the letter outlines efforts IIUSA is already taking on its own to enhance Program integrity. IIUSA has been leading the way in developing industry best practices and other activities that support Program integrity. These activities include:
- Supporting a number of integrity measures included in S.744 during the 113th Congress.
- Adoption of a resolution that lists policy issues regarding program integrity that merit consideration and further deliberation as Congress reauthorizes the Program this year.
- Participating in public engagement sessions convened by regulatory and oversight agencies.
- Establishing internal industry standards and best practices through the work of its Best Practices Committee.
- Working cooperatively with a range of government agencies and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and overseas to educate other relevant entities and their members on the EB-5 Program so they can consider it as an economic development tool and engage them as partners in deterring fraud and abuse.
- Referring apparent violations of EB-5-related law or regulations to appropriate federal authorities and has publicly supported a number of enforcement actions taken by law enforcement authorities/regulatory agencies.
IIUSA continues to work closely with members on both sides of the aisle in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction of the Program, to form a piece of legislation that reflects our advocacy platform and to ensure that reform efforts do over-regulate the Program and frustrate its ability to create U.S. jobs. While IIUSA has long supported efforts to enhance Program integrity, it is important that these reform efforts are in line with the practical realities of how the Program is delivering capital to job-creating projects around the country.