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[Q] Who was to blame for the Regional Center Program being stagnant for many years?
Well, it really depends on who you talk to. Some will say say it was USCIS who suddenly changed their EB-5 policies and put in all kinds of restrictions that made the Regional Center Program an unworkable vehicle to attract foreign investors. Some will swear that the problem lies with too aggressive Regional Centers who took too much risk and pushed their Regional Center Program off the slippery slope of common sense in order to get away from the too restrictive requirements enforced by USCIS. It's hard to say. But probably, no one will argue that it was probably a combination of both factors that caused the Regional Center and also regular, direct, individual EB-5 cases to remain stagnant for many years from 1995 to 2003.
Perhaps the reason for this confusing history of EB-5 Program is because EB-5 contains two conflicting motivations by two parties: U.S. governments want the foreign investors to take as much risks as possible and create many jobs, while the foreign investors want to NOT take any risks while obtaining green cards. There is a tug of war between the two conflicting motivations, and we believe the EB-5 ball has settled somewhere in the middle of requiring the job-creation, while relaxing other requirements. As long as the foreign investor puts his or her money of lawful source to create or foster the job-creation of requisite numbers of full-time positions, the USCIS is being supportive of the Regional Center Program, and in fact, in 2004, had to become a cheerleader for the Regional Center Program to jump start it after no one wanted have anything to do with the Regional Center Program. See the attached USCIS Press Release PDF file.