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August 19 2014

Meeting in Chicago

I am available for meetings in Chicago this Friday and Saturday, August 22 & 23. I will be speaking at the American Immigration Lawyers Association EB-5 Conference on I-829 removal of conditional residence applications.

Please contact me if you or anyone you know wishes to meet with me in Chicago.

Fortune Magazine EB-5 Article

Possibly, you have read the latest slam on the EB-5 Program in Fortune Magazine ( It uses the already well-publicized Anshoo Sethi fraud case in Chicago to tarnish the EB-5 program. If you are looking for accurate facts about the EB-5 program, you won’t find many in this article.

The article hopes to inflame public opinion against the program by making the Sethi case seem like a commonplace occurrence instead of the isolated incident that it was. The basic contention is that Sethi happened because the EB-5 program is unregulated, when in fact the opposite is true. The agency has asserted from the beginning that the EB-5 program is just like all other immigration avenues, people sometimes scam the system and USCIS looks for fraud and treats each application accordingly.

USCIS employs an army of economists, examiners and lawyers who review, in excruciating detail, every regional center application and project in connection with the I-526 and then again with the I-829. Often cases have lengthy Requests for more Evidence (RFEs) – and some have as many as three challenging the project from soup to nuts. USCIS takes nothing at face value.

The SEC is right there. EB-5s usually involve a securities offering over which the SEC has direct jurisdiction. Contrary to the article, they are not passive bystanders but aggressive participants with on-going investigations as shown by the Sethi case where the SEC seized the regional center’s assets.

We don’t condemn entire programs and institutions just because there is fraud or a scandal. If we did, then the government itself would be at risk of being put out of business.

Here’s the bottom line on this article. Despite observing that the program brings in $1.8 billion annually, if fails to finds any value. Maybe that’s because the reporter didn’t take the time to “investigate” the many successful projects revitalizing communities, creating jobs and generating tax revenues. It mentions no successful projects. It fails to acknowledge that EB-5 capital built many projects in the depths of the recession when banks would not loan capital; and banks still often refuse to loan for certain projects today.

The article also indicates that EB-5s should be eliminated so there can be more technology visas. The two are not related at all – and no one else is suggesting this.

Fraud is bad and the bad actors hurt everyone. But, we should not condemn an entire government program for the sins of a few.