Member Alert: Contact Your Senators in the Next 24 Hours!

As you have probably noticed in recent sensationalized media reports, the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the "Program") is under attack in the context of the nomination of USCIS Director, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, to Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Over the next 24 hours, we need your help setting the record straight with data and facts about the growing economic contribution of the Program - in terms of capital formation, job creation, and federal/state/local tax revenue.  The Senate is due to take up the nomination this Thursday or Friday, if not sooner, with four to eight hours of floor debate prior to a vote.  While IIUSA has no official position on the nomination itself, our concern is that the Program is accurately portrayed during the floor debate.


Last Wednesday, the nomination was passed out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs on a party line vote.  There is an open investigation of Director Mayorkas to the EB-5 Program and an anticipated DHS Inspector General (IG) report on the EB-5 Program that we expect to be released any day now.  The IG in charge of this report, Charles Edwards, has just today resigned due to allegations of his own misconduct.


As part of the debate in the Senate there may be a temptation to over-characterize some negative events associated with EB-5 or repeat as facts inaccurate representations of the program.


These could include allegations that:
  • The EB-5 Program is especially vulnerable to fraud, using anecdotal evidence of some individual projects in Chicago, New Orleans, Missouri, and Texas to generalize about the entire Program.
  • Unspecified national security concerns that the EB-5 Program is especially vulnerable to abuse by terrorists, spies and other potentially dangerous individuals.
  • The EB-5 Program is open to political manipulation and abuse citing allegations of the involvement of Director Mayorkas with some individual cases. These allegations were clearly raised for political purposes in the context of the Virginia Gubernatorial race and do not appear to be accurate. But there is an ongoing internal DHS investigation and we can expect concerns over the Director's alleged conduct and the vulnerability of the EB-5 Program to be raised.
It is important that your Senators understand the good work that you are doing through the EB-5 Program to create American jobs at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. It is also very important that Senate offices have an understanding of the value of the EB-5 Program nationally and some basic background information on how it works. Should they have concerns about any of the issues raised in the media, or repeated by other Senators, please encourage them to contact you or me if they have questions or want more information.

The most important facts to get across are:
  • EB5 is a successful job creation and economic development program that supported 33,000+ American jobs, $2.6+ billion in foreign direct investment, and $560 million in federal/state/local tax revenue - all at no cost to the taxpayer (according to an independent, peer-reviewed economic impact study). Initial results of our 2012 economic impact assessment is even greater, accounting for 42,000+ American jobs, $3.3+ billion in capital formation, and $713+ million in federal/state/local tax revenue - again, all at no cost to the taxpayer.
  • EB-5 investors go through the same security screening process as every other visa category (which include background checks by DHS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. intelligence agencies) so there is no greater security risk from EB-5 than any other visa program. In fact, EB-5 investors are further scrutinized by the appropriate authorities, often within the U.S. Department of Treasury, to ensure the source and path of the investor's funds are both lawful.
  • Fraud and criminal activity take place in every facet of our economy. The SEC and other enforcement agencies are doing their job by detecting and prosecuting bad actors. We are working with the SEC, USCIS, Congress and the broader law enforcement and stakeholder community to improve education and fraud detection and prevention.
Lastly, you can CLICK HERE to download a letter template for you to use when contacting the Senate offices.  The additional links below can also be used to educate the offices:
When contacting your Senators, you should provide a brief description of the activities of your Regional Center and either note the success you have achieved, or plan you have to create jobs and investment in the state. You should also include other letters of support and/or media coverage to the Senator's office. 
If you need any assistance drafting the letter, or other parts of the process, please contact me and our government affairs team will be glad to help. 


Thank you in advance for your assistance on this important matter,


Peter D. Joseph, IIUSA Executive Director

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