Comment: SEC Finally Acts On Lawyers

The long awaited action by the Securities and Exchange Commission on the matter of attorneys accepting referral fees from EB5 projects has finally happened. 7 immigration lawyers in California, Texas, Florida and New York were named in the SEC press release of today (see multiple news items below). Of particular note are 2 of these: the first is a law firm with offices in Alhambra, California and Flushing, New York where more than 100 families, almost certainly all Chinese, were allegedly defrauded by said firm, including allegedly through subterfuges such as receiving monies from EB5 projects through friends and relatives in China; the second is even more interesting - it is a Chinese resident who owned a corporation in the USA who has agreed to disgorgement, interest and penalty. We understand that perhaps as many as a dozen immigration attorneys are still under SEC investigation, and in various stages of SEC settlement. Nevertheless, with this long due action, SEC has firmly put the immigration bar on notice that accepting referral fees from EB5 projects, whether disclosed or not, runs afoul of the Securities statutes of the USA, specifically the bar against unregistered finders and unregistered brokers. With the action against the Chinese resident, SEC has also begun the process of bringing order to the lie-plagued Chinese EB5 landscape - Chinese migration agents should be warned that Uncle Sam has a long reach, and that they are not immune, and that they will eventually have to answer for their misdeeds against Chinese investors.

We strongly commend the SEC for (i) acting in the interests of Chinese immigrants and (ii) for bringing finality and closure to some in the bar who were unsure about the rules. Immigration attorneys are understandably not knowledgeable about securities matters (neither is Immigration Daily), but with this action the immigration bar should terminate its practice of having "ethics sessions" on EB5 - there is no useful ethical discussion where there is a statutory bar to certain behavior - unlicensed finder and unlicensed broker. We encourage the bar to adopt a categorical "NO" as the default position on referral fees (with rare exceptions such as for those few attorneys who possess securities licenses).

Once again, kudos to SEC, and we march on forward to a brave new EB5 world, with attorneys acting firmly in the interests of investors alone in I-526 filings without any compromises due to referral fees.

Share your thoughts by writing to editor@ilw.com.

Article: EB-5 Program Regional Centers Oppose Being Compliant with Federal Labor Laws. By Matthew Gordon

Article: Last Minute Compromise on EB-5 Reform and Reauthorization – Glaring Issues that need to be fixed before this Bill becomes Law. By Mona Shah & Omar Hakim

Article: WINTER BLUES: FREEZING THE AGE OF A CHILD UNDER THE DECEMBER 2015 VISA BULLETIN. By Cyrus D. Mehta

Article: Proposed Effective Dates in EB-5 Reform Bill. By Joseph P. Whalen

Article: A Modest Proposal: Use the EB-5 Program to Cut the National Debt. By David North

Blogging: USCIS Introduces "Ask Emma". By Bruce Buchanan

Blogging: Calif. Tried To Bar Vietnamese Then. Texas Is Doing It To Syrians Now. Roger Algase.

News: SEC on Taraneh Khorrami

News: SEC on Mike S. Manesh and Manesh & Mizrahi

News: SEC on Kefei Wang

News: SEC on Roger A. Bernstein

News: SEC on Allen E. Kaye

News: SEC on Michael A. Bander and Bander Law Firm

News: SEC on Mehron P. Azarmehr and Azarmehr Law Group

News: EOIR Director Testimony Before the House Committee on the Judiciary

News: SEC: Lawyers Offered EB-5 Investments as Unregistered Brokers

News: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Press Release: Civil and Human Rights Coalition Condemns EB-5 "Bait and Switch," Calls for Restoring Investment in Low-Income Communities

News: Rescue.org Statement: International Rescue Committee files brief in opposition to State of Texas' request for an injunction

Focus: The EB-5 Summit For Attorneys and Developers New York, NY - Final Deadline
ILW.COM is proud to announce that the EB-5 Summit For Attorneys and Developers will be taking place on December 18th, 2015 in New York, NY. Speakers include: Parisa Karaahmet (Discussion Leader), Chad Ellsworth, Enrique Gonzalez, Matt Gordon, Daniel B. Lundy, Dawn Lurie, John Roth, Reid Thomas, Greg White, and others to be announced. The curriculum is as follows:

  • Where does EB-5 fit in the Capital Stack
  • How does one find investors
  • Lawfully Advising on Choosing A Project
  • Developing the I-924 Application
  • I-526 Petitions and Source of Funds Issues
  • I-829 Applications and Documenting Job Creation
  • Funds Administration
  • The Non-Regional Center Concept
  • Security Issues in EB-5
  • Roundtable with all speakers on all EB-5 Matters

For additional information, including speaker biographies, and to register, please see:
Online: http://www.ilw.com/workshops/december2015eb5.shtm
Fax: http://www.ilw.com/workshops/december2015eb5.pdf

The Final Deadline is December 15th. Don't delay, act today!

Headline: Millennials on Immigration: Government Should Not Deport All Immigrants From US Click here
Headline: Mexican immigration flow to USA has reversed The Oceanside Post Click here
Headline: Immigration Crisis: The Strangers Are Us Click here
Headline: United States: EB-5 Investors: Expect More Hassles Entering The United States Click here

To submit an article or a news item to Immigration Daily, write to editor@ilw.com. Follow ILW.COM on Twitter.

Letters of the Week:

ComingsNGoings: Immigration Event
December 10, 2015, 2 - 3pm (Eastern). The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) will hold a webinar/teleconference to discuss the use of settlement judges in cases before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO). This event will provide a brief summary of OCAHO's efforts to implement a settlement judge procedure and will give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on the settlement judge initiative. RSVP for the meeting, please contact Nathan Berkeley, EOIR Outreach Director, at EngageWithEOIR@usdoj.gov by noon on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Please include in your message the name(s) of the attendee(s), your organization, and an email address. EOIR will send web access and call-in information on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, to those who RSVP.


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