For many interested EB-5 Regional Center participants and those already vested in Regional Center programs, all eyes are turned to Congress to see if the September 30, 2012 expiration date of the pilot program will be met with a resolution.
On May 24, 2012, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 3245 a bill to permanently reauthorize four immigration related pilot programs:
- EB-5 Regional Center Program
- E-Verify Program
- Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program; and the
- Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program.
This is just one in a series of bills introduced to make permanent the charter for a successful, job-creating immigrant visa program that has brought economic development and job growth to the U.S. The bill is co-sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committees Ranking Member Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, has not co-sponsored the bill but he did offer an enthusiastic statement for the record, applauding a program that has done so much good in New York State, and which needs to be made permanent.
It is our understanding that the status of this altruistic bill is very precarious. There are many proposed amendments to this bill that will encumber it in such a way that could make it unworkable. There are also many obstacles to passage such as the limited number of legislative days left in this session and the upcoming Presidential election.
The more likely scenario is for a 2-3 year extension of the EB-5 Regional Center pilot program to be approved as part of an appropriations bill. Earlier this week a three year extension of the program was added during the Appropriations Committee’s consideration of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill. We should carefully watch the movement of this appropriations bill.
If the EB-5 Regional Center pilot program expires, our sources on the Hill indicate that the Senate leaders will use alternative methods to include an extension measure on other appropriations legislative vehicles and will most likely include a significant filing fee as a “pay-for” for other government expenditures.
All of this is happening in the Senate. It is our understanding that the House is just waiting for its Senate counterpart to act and that it will follow the Senate’s lead.