The Fine Print in the Spending Bill: EB-5 Is Renewed, VAWA Is Not

By David North on February 15, 2019

While most of the focus was on the fate of the Wall (or maybe the Fence), and the lack of another government shutdown, two other immigration programs were impacted by the fine print in the just-passed spending bill:

  • As has happened so often in the past, the main part of the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program was renewed through September 30, 2019; and
  • For the second time in a few months, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), including its provisions for easy access to green cards by aliens claiming abuse at the hands of their citizen spouses, was not extended.

Neither of these programs has permanent legislative authorization, and each has a termination date unless Congress votes otherwise.

In the case of EB-5, relating to $500,000 investments producing a family-sized set of green cards for the alien investors, their spouses, and their minor children, the program has been renewed through legislative sleight of hand, time and again. Its extension has been added to "must pass" appropriations bills without hearings, committee votes, or floor votes. This has happened maybe a dozen times in past few years.

The VAWA non-extension is a potentially interesting development; most of it deals with non-immigration matters, but there has been some citizen/victim lobbying recently against the provisions for the self-petitioning of "abused spouses" by alien newlyweds. This effort was headed by citizen lobbyist and whistleblower Elena Maria Lopez.

The current law and agency practice means that citizens denounced by their new alien spouses for "abuse" have no opportunity to present their side of the story.