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December 23 2015

2015 Year in Review

This year has been a roller coaster for those involved with EB-5 visas. Congress extended the statute three times and scared many with unreasonable proposals, which did not become law with the clean extension to September 30, 2016.

The demand for EB-5 visas from China is so great, the State Department (DOS) in the spring imposed a separate visa bulletin backlog/cutoff date for Chinese investors. The USCIS’s backlogs have grown but cases continue to be slowly granted. After the USCIS approval of the I-526 petition, investors face very slow processing of the immigrant visa applications by the DOS’s National Visa Center (NVC).

In spite of these challenges and competition from many other countries with their own investor immigration programs, people continue seeking to immigrate to the U.S. via the EB-5 program.

This year, immigration in general has been a hot political topic. We have seen changes to laws related to refugees and the visa waiver program as well as calls to check out immigrants’ social media postings. Most disturbing has been the anti-immigrant hate speech.

While we help investors, developers and financiers with EB-5, I am touched daily by news of refugees traveling to Europe and the desperate refugees in Africa. Their stories often remind me of the refugees I have helped.

One family from Macedonia comes to mind. Between the time they were denied asylum and their deportation hearing before an immigration judge, their brilliant daughter, who did not speak a word of English when she arrived here, won one of President Clinton’s Scholastic Awards. The immigration judge granted the family asylum and they are now hardworking American citizens.

I hope you have a healthy and successful 2016.