USCIS Wins Big EB-5 Court Case

By David North on December 11, 2018

Yes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was in court on an EB-5 case, taking the appropriate (non-expansive) view of the law, and won!

That's a sequence of words that I rarely write.

The issue was a significant one: Should the United States issue 10,000 visas a year in the program, to both principals and their family members combined, as it does now, or should the 10,000 ceiling apply only to the investors, with the dependents' visas not being counted against the cap? The principal alien, no matter what the decision, would continue to need to make a $500,000 investment in a project approved by, but not guaranteed by, the government.

Had the agency lost, the decision would have more than doubled the size of the program, since on average there are 1.5 dependent visas issued for every EB-5 investor.

A group of Chinese investors sued USCIS along these lines in the federal courts in the District of Columbia, with U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan making the decision, according to a recent report (partially behind a paywall) by Law360.

The winning lawyer was Daniel P. Schaefer of the U.S. Attorney's Office for D.C. The losing attorney, someone with many EB-5 expansion victories under his belt, as we noted recently, was Ira Kurzban of Miami.

In this instance, he was facing long odds, as the nation has a 97-year-old tradition of counting dependents along with principals when calculating migration ceilings.