CLIENT ALERT: Reports Indicate that USCIS Informs Congress of Intent to End Regional Center Abeyance
Following the lapse of Section 610(b) of the Regional Center Statute on July 1, 2021, USCIS has issued several rounds of guidance indicating it would hold affected petitions (e.g. Regional Center based Forms I-526 and I-485) in abeyance awaiting Congress to pass new legislation. The time period for holding such cases in abeyance may soon be ending, which would presumably lead to denials due to lack of direct job creation.
But first, an important note: This post is merely based on first-hand confirmation by several trusted EB-5 stakeholders, including a membership organization of which we belong. In other words, we are a second-hand source and have not been present during discussions between USCIS and members of Congress. We urge affected clients not to panic. We cannot confirm that USCIS intends to follow through on a threat of mass denials, or whether this is an attempt to put pressure on Congress to finally get its act together with regard to EB-5. Further, the Agency’s position could change, especially amidst unprecedented geopolitical events. Although the stakes are very high, we urge your measured response in the coming weeks.
According to numerous sources, USCIS has informed relevant Congressional offices that it will end holding affected cases in abeyance if Congress does not pass new Regional Center related legislation by March 11, 2022, the current end date of federal funding through a recent continuing resolution. The Agency argues that without congressional action, it cannot approve regional center-based Forms I-526 or I-485 (adjustments of status). Presumably, this would lead to notices of intent to deny and/or denials. Such actions heighten pressure upon Congress to pass new EB-5 legislation.
This is a developing story, and we remain committed to providing our clients with substantive, credible updates amidst the 2021-22 lapse. Many questions however remain:
· Is USCIS serious about this course of action, notwithstanding the humanitarian affects mass denials would cause? Or is this merely an effort to raise awareness to spur Congress to finally act?
· If denials will come, on what timeframe will they be issued?
· Would USCIS offer humanitarian relief for affected I-485 applicants, such as parole in place or other benefits?
· Will Congress bring another EB-5 bill to the floor of either the House or Senate before March 11?
· Can a grassroots campaign sway USCIS or Congress?
· Can litigation prevent the unthinkable? (more on this in a separate post)
Importantly, as of the time of this writing, USCIS has not publicly confirmed same on its websites. USCIS’ message to Congress could indeed turn out to be of no consequence.
We will keep investors updated as credible news becomes known. For more information regarding EB-5, please contact us today.