Update on EB-5 Visa Program Regional Center re-authorization status
From noted immigration attorney Mona Shah comes this announcement regarding the re-authorization of the EB-5 Regional Center "Pilot" (passive) program:
June 18, 2012, Congressman Peter T. King issued a letter confirming that the EB-5 visa pilot program is likely to be reauthorized as a part of fiscal year’s 2012 (FY-2012) appropriations legislation.
Congressman King, Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, states here that there is bipartisan support in the House Judiciary Committee and he does expect the legislation to be reauthorized as part of the fiscal year 2013 appropriations package.
Such language has already been introduced in the Senate's Homeland Security Appropriations bill S. 3216 sponsored by Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana and Congressman King notes that this bill has the support of the business community and he will vote in favor if it reaches the House.
His version of the bipartisan support for the bill in the house though may not be held by all:
The House passed a fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) late on June 7, sharply dividing Republicans and Democrats despite earlier bipartisan agreement on the bill.
The issue in the House apparently was the result of changes made by Republicans after the members of both parties had agreed to the appropriations:
Rep. David Price (D-NC), ranking member of the House Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee, expressed his disappointment with the budget bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support when it passed the appropriations committee on May 16.
Price explained, "Two days ago, as the fiscal year 2013 Department of Homeland Security bill came to the floor for consideration, I applauded our chairman for shepherding the bill before this body in a timely fashion and under an open rule. Collaboration and collegiality characterized our subcommittee and full committee deliberations on this bill, but sadly that cooperative spirit was overwhelmed in the closing hours of floor debate by the far right."
"The House adopted extreme and reckless amendments in a process that Republican leaders could not or would not control. Although I came into the debate planning to support the bill, these amendments tipped the scales. I could not support the bill on final passage, nor could the ranking member of the full committee and the vast majority of the Democratic Caucus."
Now it is up to the Senate to decide the fate of this legislation. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the DHS FY 2013 bill (S.3216) on May 22, but the full Senate has yet to take up the bill for debate.
How will it fare?
The outcome is not that promising. Govtack.us shows that just 21% of Senate bills that were favorably reported by committee during 2009-2010 were enacted. With only a fairly Junior Senator sponsoring this bill and no Senior Republican co-sponsors, the odds probably decrease even further
and the community prediction for passage is now only at 18%, not exactly the odds that the EB-5 stakeholder community is looking for with two months left until the Pilot passive program expires.
As low as the odds are on favorable passage of this appropriations bill the good news is that at some point an appropriations bill does have to be passed as not even this Congress would allow the DHS to go unfunded before the general elections, whether or not it includes a renewal of the EB-5 passive pilot Regional Center program remains to be seen.
These odds are also much higher than the bills introduced to make the Regional Center program permanent, so the good news is that the Pilot program probably has a good chance of being re-authorized if only temporarily while the odds that bills favoring permanency of the Regional Center program will be passed seem to be fading given the current mistrust, ill will and lack of cooperation on Capitol Hill.
so while the odds of the program being made permanent are currently in the low single digits, the chances of some form of temporary re-authorization through the funding of the Department of Homeland Security and it's agencies such as USCIS are much better.
If this Regional Center program is important to you, please join the efforts by IIUSA to notify your Congressperson or Senator of the need to pass this important piece of job creation and economic development legislation.