Behring’s Efforts on EB-5 Reauthorization Are At Work
Behring appreciates EB-5 investors’ growing anxiety and frustration over the current lapse of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Never content to be passive and rely on others, Behring took the initiative in contacting members of Congress and their staff directly to provide our own perspective as a California EB-5 regional center and real estate developer and to convey the impact this lapse has had on our investors and their families and our communities.
As a general rule, Behring prefers to avoid politics and litigation, but we engage when we identify a winning strategy that can accomplish our goals and meet our investors’ needs – just as a we did in our successful lawsuit over DHS and vacating the 2019 EB-5 Modernization Rule. Learn more about Behring’s lawsuit against DHS here.
Our advocacy efforts for reauthorization have obtained good feedback from Congressional staff and EB-5 advocacy groups.
Behring Joins the Real Estate Roundtable
Colin Behring, CEO of Behring Capital and Behring Regional Center, recently accepted an invitation to join the Real Estate Roundtable (RER), a Washington-based public policy organization that focuses on key national policy issues relating to real estate and the U.S. economy, including the EB-5 Program. RER brings together leaders from the top publicly-held and privately-owned real estate ownership, development, lending and management firms with leaders of major national real estate trade associations and has been extremely successful in its access to Congressional leaders and advocating for legislative policy that promotes U.S. economic prosperity.
Behring has been working with the Real Estate Roundtable to raise more awareness in Congress of the EB-5 Regional Center Program and the vital need for its reauthorization. Recently, Behring prepared strategic talking points for the RER to convey to our Congressional leaders the substantial economic consequences of failing to pass EB-5 reauthorization and the fundamental unfairness of not processing existing EB-5 petitions.
Behring Joins the EB-5 Investment Coalition (EB5IC) Steering Committee
During our concerted efforts in challenging USCIS in federal court, vacating the 2019 Modernization Rule and restoring the $500,000 investment amount, Behring joined the EB-5 Investment Coalition and became part of EB5IC’s Steering Committee. In this role, Behring was able to provide feedback on EB-5 legislative policy that has now achieved industry consensus and is the primary bill that Congress members are reviewing to finalize EB-5 reform and reauthorization.
EB5IC lobbying efforts are relentless and effective. Our message on the vital need for EB-5 reauthorization has been received “loud and clear” by key Congressional leaders and their staff. Nevertheless, until EB-5 reauthorization language is publicly included in the Congress’s omnibus budget bill or a continuing resolution in December, we will not rest.
Behring’s Outreach to Congress
By virtue of being located in California, a state the has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of EB-5 investments, Behring has been able to talk directly to legislative staffers who are on the immigration subcommittees of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, including key legislative staff responsible for drafting the current industry consensus bill and negotiating final language with Senators Schumer, Grassley and Leahy and their teams.
We have been able to share our perspective as an EB-5 regional center and Bay Area real estate developer on the important impact the EB-5 Regional Center Program has on our communities. We’ve also shared some of the stories of Behring’s EB-5 investors who have been swept up in this limbo caused by Congress’s failure to reauthorize the program on June 30, 2021.
Behring was also invited to review bill language, and we provided insight on key language to ensure that the future brings a sustainable EB-5 program that helps to ensure investments are made with integrity and transparency while delivering predictability and efficiency in the processing of EB-5 investor green card petitions.
Behring calls on Congress not to retroactively punish existing EB-5 investors and to grandfather all EB-5 investors that have timely filed before expiration of the EB-5 program.
Around 40,000 EB-5 investors have already invested their family savings into U.S. projects, are creating hundreds of thousands of full-time jobs for Americans and have even paid over $150 million in USCIS fees to process their applications when the EB-5 Program was in effect. Behring has conveyed to Congress that it should uphold its end of the bargain by allowing these pending petitions to go forward and not be further disrupted. Congress must not retroactively terminate the applications of thousands of families who have already complied with EB-5 rules.
Behring pointed out to staffers the need to amend proposed grandfather provisions so that it not only ensures continuous processing of any pending I-526 petitions, but that pending EB-5 investors may also file visa applications based on those approved petitions, even if the EB-5 Program were to lapse or expire in the future. The current proposal extends the program for 10 years, which we think is appropriate for optimum stability for the investment visa program.
EB-5 investors have done their part. Now Congress must do its part.
Behring calls on Congress to recognize how interconnected the EB-5 program is to the U.S. economy and the negative consequences for delaying reauthorization.
The negative impact on the U.S. economy for delaying reauthorization cannot be understated. The EB-5 program is not just an immigration program, it is deeply integrated with the U.S. economy. Delay in extending the EB-5 program not only affects thousands of immigrant families, but it also threatens the creation of hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
EB-5 capital typically comprises 15-35% of the capital stack of an EB-5 project and is supplemented with capital provided by U.S. banks, pension funds, private equity funds, and developers. Delays in reauthorization can disrupt these projects and jeopardize not only the EB-5 capital but can economically impact banks, insurance companies, labor unions, contractors, and more.
Based on our interactions with Congressional staff, many previously failed to appreciate the full extent a failure to reauthorize EB-5 would have on U.S. businesses, development projects and American jobs.
Behring confident EB-5 will be reauthorized
– it’s a matter of when, not if
We encourage our EB-5 investors to remain optimistic. While it is easy to be disheartened by the U.S. political process – which obviously can be messy, opaque and slow – we have already achieved much and are on the edge of implementing a long-term extension and meaningful EB-5 reform.
For the first time in years, all EB-5 stakeholders are aligned behind a consensus bill that provides for long-term extension to the EB-5 program that will prevent arbitrary deadlines or rushes, that will increase the integrity and transparency to the program so that EB-5 families can invest with confidence and obtain U.S. permanent residency for their contribution.
The first important date to watch for is December 3rd. On or before that date, Congress needs to pass either a Continuing Resolution or the Omnibus Appropriations Bill to avoid a government shutdown. Anything can change in the final moments, but it’s probable that, similar to years’ past, Congress will pass a short-term continuing resolution to mid-to-late December or possibly to January after the holidays before it passes the annual omnibus bill. EB-5 reauthorization may be part of one or the other bills. We will have more details
The political process is certainly frustrating, but we continue to enjoy key political support for EB-5 reauthorization. We look forward to a more robust and sustainable EB-5 Program. But we must not rest until we have EB-5 reauthorization published in the omnibus budget bill. Behring will continue to its outreach. We encourage EB-5 investors to contact Congress to share their stories to raise further awareness.
Contact Behring if you would like to learn more about Behring’s advocacy efforts and how you can help.