An immigration attorney’s perspectives on immigration, business and politics.
Editor’s note: Immigration reform has many facets and continues to be an issue for the U.S. and for business. An immigration attorney weighs in on core issues. It’s one of many perspectives we will intend to visit.
Immigration reform has stalled but initiatives move forward here are five insights:
In November 2014, President Obama issued several executive orders to move the cause of immigration reform forward. Mired in litigation, however, his efforts have largely been stalled. Immigration reform has also been frustrated by a rising tide of anti-immigrant feeling. But, the world has not stood still.
1. The 500 Pound Gorilla
What the hoopla over Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant platform may portend is the decisive role the Hispanic vote could play in determining the next election. Since whomever wins the White House is likely going to have to capture the Hispanic vote, Mr. Trump, and the Republican party, have moved onto very thin electoral ice.
Hispanic Republicans should be concerned about Party rhetoric which is kowtowing to a constituency apparently enthusiastic at the prospect of forcibly deporting 11 million men, women and children, and building a 19,000 mile DMZ across the nation’s Southern Border. It is not Trump who is the bogeyman here, but his extremist supporters. Decisively defeating this extremism at the polls would be good for the Republican party, the country, and immigration reform. The Hispanic vote could play a significant role in bringing about this outcome.
2. On Business- Dimming Prospects for the EB-5 Program?
Business and EB-5 what is it?
The EB-5 program is America’s immigrant investor program, which allows foreign nationals who invest in the United States an opportunity to obtain Legal Permanent Residency. What has made the program popular with investors is the Regional Center program, a pilot program that has been extended every five years since the 1990’s.
A whole industry has grown up around the activities of Regional Centers, umbrella organizations for investment projects that have attracted billions of dollars of foreign investment capital. Proponents of the program call attention to the levels of investment it has attracted.
Critics, however, point to two General Accounting Office reports that call into question the government’s ability to detect fraud and realistically assess the program’s benefits. The Regional Center Program is up for re-authorization at the end of September 2015, and proponents are nervous.
Even if the program survives the reauthorization debate, the government’s focus on fraud detection and enforcement is likely to make it much more difficult for EB-5 investors to meet the program’s evolving requirements.
3. But there is Still Hope
Despite the inertia, however, one initiative to watch is the “Significant Public Benefit Parole Program” concerning which the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) is in the comment stage.
As explained by DHS, the program would allow the agency to exercise its parole authority to allow into the U.S., on a temporary basis, eligible founders of start-up enterprises who have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing for a U.S. based project, or otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting edge research.
The program could mean a significant boost to foreign entrepreneurs interested in pursuing their ideas into the U.S. market. The devil is in the details, of course, but this initiative is pretty exciting, and would not require Congressional action.
Next- Immigration issues 4 and 5