The EB-5 Situation: No News Is Good News

By David North on August 2, 2021

It appears that the massive new infrastructure legislation contains, at the moment, no effort to revive the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program.

There is an amendment in the nature of a substitute “intended to be proposed” by the 10 senators, five from each party, who have agreed on a 2,702-page bill to be called the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”. It does not yet have a bill number.

The EB-5 program was allowed to lapse on June 30 by the Senate. Some think it might be revived by inserting a provision into an infrastructure bill, or in the looming reconciliation act.

I can’t say that I have read every one of the 2,702 pages in the bill, but I did search the text of the bill and found nothing under “immigrant investor” or “EB-5”. Then I tried the word “immigration” on the grounds that EB-5 was created as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

I got three hits for that word, two related to a reference barring monies to “specially designated nationals”, a fairly standard provision, and the third to immigration clearance delays on Amtrak trains going to and from Canada. All harmless.

EB-5 supporters still have a chance to introduce an amendment to the current Senate bill, but at the moment it is free of any EB-5 ingredients.

EB-5 was a program that allowed alien investors to — essentially — buy a family-size batch of green cards when they made a Homeland Security-approved, but not guaranteed, pooled investment of at least $500,000 or $900,000, depending on when the investment was made. The program was marred by a long series of corruption scandals in connection with these investments.

A financially insignificant part of the program, in which aliens promise to manage specific businesses (direct investments), continues and was not covered by the June 30 shutdown.