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On March 11, 2022, Congress passed the “EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act” as part of the Omnibus spending bill. See blog post here. On April 11, 2022, USCIS posted an interpretation of the legislation that would nullify all 600-plus designated regional centers and require all entities to be re-designated in order to be authorized to file petitions under the new law pursuant to provisions effective May 14, 2022. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program | USCIS.

This interpretation, if it stands, would have a significant negative impact on regional center operations and disrupt even further an already besieged program. The EB-5 Investment Coalition (EB5IC) through one of its members has challenged this interpretation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Case 3:22-cv-02487-JCS Behring Regional Center LLC v. Majorkas et al. Plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order April 26, 2022, asking the court to halt the USCIS guidance. We expect a hearing in the next week.

Plaintiff, through counsel at Greenberg Traurig, argues the agency interpretation runs contrary to the plain language of the statute and violates the Administrative Procedure Act. Plaintiff argues USCIS is attempting to improperly deauthorize existing regional center designations through its unilateral guidance.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.

Admitted in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.