On Jan. 17, The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (The CRE), a Washington D.C. administrative watchdog group, filed a petition with the Department of Homeland Security to reform the EB-5 program to create jobs in rural America and areas of high unemployment.  In making the announcement, The CRE posted:

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) seeks a rulemaking to amend 8 CFR §204.6(j)(6), the portion of the Department of Homeland Security/US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ regulations which requires EB-5 applicants to “show that the new commercial enterprise has created or will create employment in a targeted employment area.” CRE’s goal in filing this petition is to obtain the implementation of:

  1. A 2013 DHS Office of Inspector General Report Recommendation that federal regulations be updated and clarified to “give the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the authority to verify that the foreign funds were invested in companies creating U.S. jobs.”
  2. A 2015 US General Accountability Office Recommendation that USCIS track, verify, and report “jobs created through the EB-5 Program.”

The petition would implement the above recommendations by:

  1. Amending the targeted employment area provision of the EB-5 program so that it creates employment for people who live in rural and high unemployment areas.
  2. Establishing a system for documenting and reporting on the jobs that are created by immigrant investors for people who live in rural and high unemployment areas.

This petition’s subject matter overlaps major elements of the DHS/USCIS rulemaking on modernizing the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program [RIN 1615–AC07]. Since (1) this petition seeks the implementation of federal watchdog recommendations that predate USCIS’s NPRM and (2) DHS states in its Current Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions that there is no legal deadline for the rulemaking, DHS should address this petition prior to USCIS’s promulgating the final rule; USCIS may want or need to modify its proposal based on DHS’s resolution of the petition.

The CRE encourages public comment on its filing via their Interactive Public Docket.

More information on The CRE can be found at on its website.