Comment: DREAM has momentum, EB5 not moving

A “clean” DREAM bill, coupled with border provisions, appears to have significant political momentum, following Mr. Trump’s decision to phase out DACA, announced earlier this month. A House vote on a discharge petition on DREAM may be forced as early as next week, despite opposition from leaders of both political parties – at this writing it is not clear that such a vote would fail on the House floor. Even if it does fail, but comes within a couple of dozen votes of passing – it would embolden another try, and thus force leaders of both parties to bend to political realities, and fast-track action on DREAM. Such fast-track action will NOT be regular order, since discussion on immigration benefits is no longer possible with some Republican members of the House Immigration sub-committee and House Judiciary committee, thus rendering these bodies ineffective in shepherding immigration bills. The political blow-back to “enforcement-only” appears to have now arrived.

In the Senate, a filibuster-proof majority for DREAM plus border provisions likely exists, and even a failed House vote on the discharge petition may galvanize action in the Senate. As the DREAM saga unfolds, it is even possible that Mr. Trump might get some money for his wall (5 miles of wall, anyone?), so that he can claim a “win”. As soon as a DREAM+border bill is on the move, whether in the next couple of weeks or in the next couple of months, every manner of immigration amendment will be thrown at it, being germane under Congressional rules for floor action, and a few of these amendments will carry, so the final measure that lands on Mr. Trump’s desk will be a little more than DREAM+border.

One of the amendments that has already come into play is an EB5 amendment – largely mirroring the Cornyn/Grassley language from earlier this year. This amendment is likely to fail since the status quo is beneficial to urban EB5 interests who have proved (i) that they have sufficient lobbying muscle to block change to EB5 and (ii) that they have a sophisticated lobbying strategy to counter rural interests that dominate in the Senate in such a manner that it does not become apparent that what is being implemented is in fact a pro-status-quo strategy, but instead appears to be a strategy to “find common ground”. It appears likely that the EB5 can will once again be kicked down the road into 2018, and that the status quo in EB5 will not change until USCIS regs get to OMB for action.

What could trip-up DREAM benefits being delivered to a million undocumented immigrants is over-aggressiveness by DREAM advocates in either (a) trying to get 2 million plus people immigration benefits (for which political support has yet to be built) or (b) denying either Congressional Republicans or Mr. Trump some manner of immigration enforcement, especially at the border, as a price for DREAM enactment. DREAM advocates now have American sentiment behind them, a significant change since the last try at DREAM in Congress – the consequence of which is a public change of mind and heart on the part of Representatives and Senators previously opposed to DREAM who are now supporters. This is an opportunity for Democratic leaders to move quickly and score a win (and give a win to Mr. Trump, too), and most importantly, to score a win for America.

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Focus: EB-5 Roundtable with Angelo Paparelli

This month's free 45-minute telephonic EB5 Roundtable with Angelo Paparelli features:
Guest Speakers: Mark A. Katzoff & Dawn Lurie
This month's topic is: EB-5 4th-Quarter Developments in the Executive Branch - USCIS Ombudsman, USCIS (FDNS, IPO & Field Offices), ICE, Departments of Commerce and State, SEC & FINRA
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - Time: 2:00-2:30pm ET
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