by Carolyn S. Lee
In the last 7 days, core negotiators in the EB-5 industry have seen two drafts of EB-5 legislation entitled “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa and Regional Center Program Comprehensive Reform Act,” or simply, EB-5 Reform Act.
No one thinks this is a perfect bill. That’s probably its chief strength, because it signifies compromise. The diverse interests within the EB-5 industry foreclose a universally agreeable bill. So given no consensus, the question is – would this be a bill still worth supporting?
The answer for me is grounded in pragmatism. I support this draft because a six-year lifespan for the EB-5 regional center program with these terms is better than another desiccating year – or more – of uncertainty.
Perhaps a roll of the dice would yield a better legislative deal after the November elections. Perhaps EB-5 could be a part of comprehensive immigration reform. Let’s throw in possibly more numbers, too. But between today and that imagined day, we would have new regulations, higher investment amounts, and month-to-month tenancy.
On this side of that alternate universe is a viable product. It’s one the industry has hammered and chipped away at since S. 1501 dropped in 2015. It may be imperfect, but it’s without doubt, ours, collectively. And, importantly, it’s also a creature of both Chairs of the Judiciary Committees, Senator Cornyn, and Congressional Leadership.
This moment took 33 months in the making. Shall we spin the wheel for something better at some future point? I vote, emphatically, no.