An Open Letter to Honorable President Donald J. Trump on EB-5 Visa Job Creation Program


February 28, 2019

President Donald J. Trump The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Re: Saving the EB-5 Visa Job Creation Program

Dear Mr. President:

In the days before your presidency began, President Barack Obama issued new proposed regulations to “modernize” the EB-5 Visa Job Creation Program. These regulations are now under final review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Please reject these Obama-era regulations and restart the process with U.S. businesses and stakeholders to create reasonable reforms to keep the EB-5 Visa Job Creation Program a viable alternate source of capital for businesses, and also most importantly, to continue creating thousands of jobs through this program.

The EB-5 program is a great deal for the U.S. people as immigrant investors mainly from China have placed over $20 billion in the U.S. through the EB-5 Program in the past five years alone, creating thousands of jobs for U.S. workers and helping to develop areas of high unemployment. Since President George H.W. Bush first signed the EB-5 Visa Job Creation Program into law in 1990, this jobs program has received overwhelming bi-partisan support, and that support needs a new leader today. After almost 30 years, the program does need updating especially in the integrity arena. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) introduced good bills last year that received bipartisan support. Under your leadership, success is possible.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is a U.S. job-creation program, with an immigration benefit. If jobs are not created, the full immigration benefit will not be granted. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program precisely aligns with the stated goals of the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order. It provides U.S. companies with low-cost capital to create jobs for qualifying U.S. workers at no expense to U.S. taxpayers.

As it stands today, an immigrant investor from China filing now may need to wait over 14 years to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. after making the investment in a U.S. company. A Vietnamese investor filing in 2019 could wait over 7 years, and long visa waiting times will soon occur for investors born in India. These three countries produce the greatest number of EB-5 investment, but recently demand has dropped precipitously because of the long waiting times. The proposed regulations – which would

increase the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $1,350,000 for high unemployment areas, and to $1,800,000 for ordinary cases – would undoubtedly destroy the EB-5 industry. Very few investors could or would pay this amount of money just to wait so many years to immigrate. Regional centers will run out of business, projects using EB-5 investment capital will not be completed, and thousands of jobs will be lost. Until about ten years ago, interest in this program was minimal. It has since skyrocketed. Please don’t allow these Obama-Era regulations to kill job creation.

True reform to the EB-5 Visa Job Creation Program should include the original Congressional intent of allowing 10,000 investor families, and not the approximately 3,000 investor families presently being admitted under a restrictive and erroneous interpretation. Please block this regulation and encourage Congress to work together to reform the program which does require new integrity measures, a correction of the visa allocation (because a 2-year old child is not an investor, but the child of an investor). Either Congress or your Administration needs to remove derivative family members from the EB-5 visa quota. This will help keep our economy growing through U.S. job creation.

It appears that the average review time for OMB to review such proposed rules from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, since your presidency began, is only 41 days. That means that this job-killing EB-5 proposed rule could be finalized within a month by April 4, 2019.

We humbly and respectfully ask that you please set these regulations aside. Sincerely,

Bernard Wolfsdorf Managing Partner Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

About The Author

Bernard Wolfsdorf is the past National President of the 15,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is Managing Partner of the top-rated Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP immigration law firm. The firm is known worldwide for providing exceptional quality legal services. With over 80 professionals including 18 lawyers, and offices in Los Angeles, New York and Shanghai, the firm provides high-quality, excellent-value global immigration services. Mr. Wolfsdorf specializes in a broad range of immigration areas, including business and EB-5 investment visas and he also handles the full range of global immigration matters. Best Lawyer’s US News and World Report ranked him as its 2018 “Lawyer of the Year” for Los Angeles. In 2017, Mr. Wolfsdorf was listed as Who’s Who Legal’ s “Leading and Most Highly Recommended Immigration Lawyer in the United States” for the 7th year. Mr. Wolfsdorf secured the top spot after earning the most votes from hundreds of highly-rated immigration lawyers around the world. WWL calls Mr. Wolfsdorf a “leading expert in EB-5” who has “strengths in many practice areas.”

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.