We are now at day 51 of the program lapse.
AIIA is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, August 25, at 12 PM ET/ 9 AM PT to update investors and stakeholders on our efforts and the resources we need to continue our fight to protect the interests of investors. We encourage our donor-members to submit any questions ahead of time, which will be prioritized.
If you are unable to attend, we encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube channel where we will post a recording of the webinar.
Trying to build strategic alliances
We believe that immigration attorneys have their clients’ best interests at heart. We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in establishing a liaison with the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) EB-5 Committee. AILA has historically been seen as a voice of reason on immigration matters. Winning its support for a key precedent-setting legislation like FIFPA would bring us to a new front in this fight for justice, which we believe is a fight for all of us in this process.
Legislative and Administrative updates:
We have encouraging news. Our efforts (detailed below) are already beginning to have an impact. IIUSA and EB5IC have reviewed the language of Foreign Investor Fairness Protection Act (FIFPA) and have assured their support for the bill.
AIIA worked with Robert C. Divine, chairman of the immigration division at Baker Donelson and former Chief Counsel of USCIS, to draft the Foreign Investor Fairness Protection Act (FIFPA), a one page bill that protects all existing investors from the present or any future lapses of the EB-5 Regional Center program. Existing investors should not be a collateral casualty to disagreements between the various industry factions. Immigrant investors should never again be vulnerable as they are today. FIFPA will decouple the fate of existing EB-5 investors from the broader future of the EB-5 program once and for all. We are focused on advocating for your rights, and strongly believe that this bill is the key to protect current and future investors from the kind of tense uncertainty we have all experienced since the program lapse.
We have independently continued our Congressional outreach to get FIFPA enacted, and to date we have had conversations with the following Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle:
- Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
- Pat Toomey (R-PA)
- Alex Padilla (D-CA)
- Dick Durbin (D-IL)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Some of these offices have already expressed their support for FIFPA if it were to be introduced in Congress, including offers to co-sponsor such legislation. We are working closely with our political consultants to target key members of Congress whom we believe would be sympathetic to our cause. We are also arranging follow-ups with the Congressional offices with whom we have already had discussions , in order to continue to raise awareness of FIFPA and the negative impacts that the lapse is having on investors.
Why is FIFPA so important?
Congress has the ultimate prerogative on matters of immigration and border. Congress can choose the immigrants it wants to admit into the United States. Congress can also, from time-to-time, define the types of immigrants it wants to admit into the United States. In order for Congress to reserve this prerogative, the United States needs to stay credible. It is for this reason that it is so vital that the United States not renege on the promise it has made, even if it was done so implicitly, to an existing class of immigrants. It is for this reason that grandfathering of investor immigrants is such an important matter. It is a matter of policy. It is a matter of American integrity.
AIIA is committed to working tirelessly behind this principle and for achieving the outcomes that we all deserve. We are heartened by the support we have received and we hope that you will continue to stay behind us in the time to come.
The monumental progress we have made in the short time since the AIIA was founded would not have been possible without your support, and we hope you will continue to lend your time, money and stories to our cause in the months to come.
We have heard from sources that there is a push for either a short-term extension of the Regional Center program or a full reform bill. While this is certainly good news, any joy will be very short lived if grandfathering language is not included. We may find ourselves in the exact situation in another few months. It is critical that investors are permanently protected from future lapses. We don’t believe that Congress intended or foresaw this moment whereby every single investor’s life would pause while groups deliberate about the future of the program. As it stands, grandfathering language is the only way out. Should there be a short-term extension, AIIA is prepared to push our bill as a standalone measure.
Where do we go from here?
For the past few months, we have been working with Crossroads Campaigns (CCS) – a Washington, D.C. based political consultancy who also works with Immigrants’ List – one of the country’s largest immigrants’ rights organizations. CCS has been extraordinarily helpful in our Congressional outreach and grassroots efforts to represent the interests of existing immigrant investors
However we are at a critical juncture in our push for grandfathering – we have successfully promoted the idea within the halls of Congress, but we now need a targeted push for the bill to be adopted. To do this we need the expertise of a dedicated lobbying firm. We have a shortlist of candidates, and with guidance from subject matter experts we are confident that we will finalize the right choice very shortly. It is important to keep in mind that lobbyists are more expensive than a political consultancy and as of today we are roughly at 40% towards our fundraising goal in order to afford this endeavor.
Since our last update, we have focused on fundraising in order to get us to the point where we can afford to advocate for our bill in Congress. We are happy to report that we have just crossed the half-way mark of our short-term fund-raising target. Investors, and well-wishing EB-5 service providers from all over the globe came forward to show incredible support. The word is spreading. Investors see that it is possible to make an impact when they come together.
AIIA still needs your support. If you haven’t yet, please support us by:
- Spreading the word,
- Coming forward and speaking up.
- Reaching out with your ideas.
- Volunteering your time and skills.
The race is ongoing. We are at mile 15 and we will run this marathon till the end.
Donors and volunteers:
We have had four calls with our donors and volunteers so far and our plan is to continue to do them regularly in the future. If you have donated to us and have not been invited to them please reach out to us by email and let us know.
Mentions in the press and partnerships
AIIA did a webinar with Beyond International, a Chinese-American wealth management firm to help us with our outreach to Chinese investors. Recording of the webinar is available on Bilibili and Youtube for anyone to watch.
The Investment Migration Report did an interview with two of our founders. Highlights from the interview include an introduction to AIIA, overlapping priorities of AIIA and other EB-5 industry stakeholder groups (IIUSA, EB5IC) and AIIA’s efforts on changing the perception of EB-5 in Congress.