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2012/05/01 -- USCIS EB-5 Meeting summary at CSC -- our take
Update: USCIS issues a pretty lengthy and substantive Q & A document from the meeting:
This Q & A includes questions involving tenant-occupancy related job creation issues which turned out to be more restrictive than said author initially anticipated. One of the reasons why USCIS issued this lengthy Q & A document after the meeting was because many EB-5 stakeholders complained at the lack of substantive answers provided during the teleconference.
Over 200 stakeholders, who were in Southern CA to attend the IIUSA EB-5 Conference, showed up physically, with 300 more participating telephonically, all expecting some positive changes, but instead left feeling deflated. Many in attendance left saying there really is no need to show up physically at these USCIS sponsored meetings.
* Let me say at the outset I actually felt a great deal of sympathy for Ms. Alexandra "Sasha" Haskell who had to act as the face of USCIS for the EB-5 meeting, because she was sympathetic to business persons who were looking for specific guidelines from USCIS, and she had to sit through 2 hours saying pretty much the same thing, which was in essence: "We are doing the best we can and we are sorry we can not give you clearer guide posts on which you can rely for predictability when you carry on your business."
Basically, the same old story that CSC is doing its best with a limited staff and they have now hired and trained more staff, including economists and business attorneys. Many stakeholders, especially wanna-be RC operators, complained of the slow adjudications.
Only useful info was:
1. There will be another "draft" version of Mayorkas' "overarching policy memo issued within several weeks, and no, USCIS will not give any due deference to this "draft" policy memo until it has been finalized.
2. "Exemplar" project approval or premium-processing adjudication will be re-examined, and we would not be surprised if USCIS ditches these proposals.
3. EB-5 statistics at: http://eb-5center.com/files/EB-5Stats_May_2012_0.pdf
The way it's been going, do not be surprised if it takes another 2 years for Director Mayorkas' ongoing "overarching" draft policy memo to finally become effective, and until then, many will be suffering. As we all know, USCIS doesn't operate like a private enterprise which will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Also, it's unfortunate that not all of EB-5 filing fees go towards improving the EB-5 adjudication team at CSC.
No presentation material and no answers to many pertinent and specific questions submitted in advance; and really, no responses to any important issues. And you know what? That's what I expected, meaning this may will be the last USCIS EB-5 meeting I will be attending physically. I hate to say it, but it's less waste of time to participate via telephone.
By the way, one wanna-be RC operator gentleman who offered to write a big check to USCIS to help USCIS get its job done is my hero. Of course, what he did not realize was that big fat checks accompanying EB-5 cases really do not all end up going towards helping improve the EB-5 unit at CSC. Until USCIS is allowed to devote substantial portion of EB-5 filing fees exclusively towards improving EB-5 Unit operation within CSC, USCIS may not have the financial capability to adjudicate EB-5 cases quickly.