Nicholas Colucci, the head of the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program, participated in the February 2nd meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss aspects of the EB-5 program. Among the topics he addressed were:
- Putting holds on application processing when another government agency is investigating potential fraud.
- Clarifying that, although public attention regarding potential fraud seems to be investor-focused, the greater issue is on the developer side.
- Indicating that, in his opinion, the USCIS has the authority to change EB-5 investment amounts and to define what may or may not be Targeted Employment Area.
We are especially interested in the last point. This could bode well for the EB-5 program because these issues would be taken out of the hands of a Congress that moves at a speed that makes a snail look like an Olympic sprinter. Moving decision-making further down the chain-of-command is usually a good thing. In this case, it could mean that EB-5 reform would not have to wait on the passage of a broader immigration reform bill that is more concerned about illegal immigrants and a flood of undocumented refugees.