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March 20 2017

Shocking EB-5 Rule Change

Obviously there is a lot happening in the EB-5 area these days.

Shocking EB-5 Rule Change

Previously, a RC could expand its territory usually by a letter and a map accompanying an investor’s I-526. Large territorial expansion often had substantial evidence and an economist’s opinion justifying the territory. In March via a stakeholder call, USCIS said an amendment is needed to expand a RC’s territory (with a government fee of $17,750). USCIS announced that they published a new rule (without telling anyone at numerous meetings and conferences they attended) in the instructions for the new I-924.  Further I-526s filed after December 23, 2016 based on a project outside of the RC’s territory will be denied until the amendment for territory expansion is decided. The back handed rule change (and radio silence about it ahead of time) is very disturbing. “Gotcha” rulemaking is not how the government is supposed to operate. Moreover, I-924s now take 15 or more months to be decided. Job creation should not be halted for over a year just for USCIS to add a county to an approved RC territory.

Travel Ban 2.0

On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a revised travel ban for 6 countries including Iran. Green card holders can still travel to and from the U.S., as well as those with valid visas and passports. New visas will not be issued for 90 days. Hawaii and Washington are seeking court injunctions based on establishment of religion, equal protection, due process and violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Administrative Procedures Act. A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide injunction halting the ban’s implementation.

EB-5 Congressional Hearing

A hearing was held in the House of Representatives in Washington on March 8th. The EB-5 program was criticized and many said they did not want the program extended with another continuing resolution, but a new statute. I am working with an experienced lobbyist in D.C. on extending the statute.

April 28th EB-5 Deadline

We are trying to file all our I-526 EB-5 cases by April 28th when the EB-5 RC statute is supposed to sunset. Hopefully it will be extended to September 30, 2017 and then for 5 years.

April 11th Deadline for Comments on USCIS Regulations

One of Trump’s executive orders has frozen all regulations. In any event I think it is good to send comments on the USCIS’ proposed regulations that will kill the EB-5 program. They will:

  • Increase TEA investment amount to $1,350,000
  • Increase investment amount to $1.8 million in non-TEAs
  • Restrict TEAs so most are not possible


Submit comments via the following methods. Please be sure to reference “DHS Docket 2016 – 0006” in your correspondence:

  • Via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
  • Via post:
    • Samantha Deshommes, Acting Chief
    • Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy
    • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529

Comments are critical for further litigation.

CBP Searching Cell Phones at Airports

The CBP is now searching U.S. citizens and temporary travelers’ cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices. A temporary visa holder can refuse access to their electronic device without a court search warrant; however, they will probably be refused admission. A U.S. citizen who refuses access to their electronic devices may be delayed entry, but must be admitted to the U.S. CBP may, however, detain their phones and laptops. For more on this, see