Good News for EB-5 Critics: Regional Centers to Pay for an ‘Integrity Fund’

By David North on March 2, 2023

There was (perhaps) good news this week for those of us who are skeptics about the scandal-ridden EB-5 (immigrant investor) program. Between March 1 and April 1, every middleman agency (regional center) in the program will chip in $10,000 or $20,000 a year to the new EB-5 Integrity Fund; the lower figure if the Center has fewer than 20 investors, and the higher one if it has more than 20 of them.

I say “perhaps” because of the wording of the USCIS press release. The government pays close attention to the differences between the words “will” and “may”.

The press release says that the government will: “use the EB-5 Integrity Fund primarily to administer the EB-5 Regional Center Program”.

It goes on to say that “We may use fees collected ... to detect and investigate fraud and other immigration crimes.” (Emphasis added.)

Traditionally, as we have reported all too many times in the past, the investigating and suing in EB-5 cases has been done by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the defrauded alien investors and their lawyers, or court-appointed trustees, with USCIS playing a silent and passive role.

Whatever the money is used for, it will come from the regional centers, not U.S. taxpayers, and it will come from adding to the many other fees the centers must pay, all of which may discourage interest in the program.

How many centers are there left in the program after all the new rules, regulations, and fees are in effect? We have asked USCIS and will report that (presumably diminished) number if we secure it.

The Federal Register link is here.