Our Mission and Priorities
AIIA is a nonprofit organization which is committed to legal, social, and economic advocacy for all investors in the EB-5 program. The organization was founded in the wake of the EB-5 Regional Center program lapse in 2021, with the common cause of grandfathering in all previous investors in the program and ensuring protection of their immigration process regardless of future changes to the program. Through the support of our members, strategic planning with lobbyists, attorneys, and investors, and the hard work of our founding board, AIIA was able to act as a key player in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act passed in the budget reconciliation bill of March 2022. While the grandfathering provision was a huge win for our investor allies, our organization is dedicated to reforming the EB-5 program to be more equitable for the investors and more beneficial for American labor forces. With your help, we can continue to amplify immigrant investor voices in Washington D.C. while we advocate for comprehensive immigration legislation and industry reform. Check out some of our various priorities for the future below.
- Reducing the EB-5 visa backlog and through structural adjustments to the EB-5 program.
- One of AIIA’s top priorities is advocating for a system of visa issuance which meets the modern requirements and demand in the EB-5 program. In reducing the backlog, we are actively advocating for removal of derivatives against the numerical visa cap on EB-5 approvals, increased visa allowance for EB-5 investors, and “visa recapture” of all unapportioned EB-5 visas from previous years.
- Demanding accountability from USCIS by instituting mandatory processing time limits for USCIS adjudication of EB-5 petitions and applications.
- USCIS is funded almost entirely though immigrant application fees and financial penalties, rather than by American taxpayer funds apportioned by congress. However, AIIA believes that USCIS as a government entity should be held accountable to its clients, given that all fees for immigration services have been paid, and many families have anxiously awaited word on their applications for years. Poor processing times, combined with a lack of agency capacity leads us to believe that Congress should impose a mandatory deadline on when USCIS must respond to an immigrant petition in order to halt the application backlog and protect our immigrant allies.
- An end to redeployment provisions which exploit the “at risk” investment requirement to hold investor funds and reinvest them without consent or oversight.
- Redeployment continues to be used to defraud investors of their long-deserved return on investment, and grants Regional Centers nearly complete control over investor funds according to the terms an investor must sign when investing. By eliminating the commonplace measure of forcing redeployment on EB-5 investors, investors will be able to access redeployment funds, and issuers will no longer hold power to line their pockets by taking risky investment opportunities and repay debts with capital gains.
- Completed investment projects which can demonstrate two years of maintained full time jobs should qualify investors for repayment, rather than waiting for the immigration process to include before repayment eligibility. A process of demonstrating jobs created and investment project completion for repayment eligibility should be instated, rather than waiting for USCIS to complete their drawn-out immigration processes.
- Advocating for redeployment agreements which seek out investors’ consent to reinvest and offer true choice over where investor funds can be commissioned.
- Continuously oppose any USCIS interpretations that would undercut the AIIA-sponsored “grandfathering” language in the RIA.
- Reforming the USCIS appeals process to be more effective for investors with I-526 and I-829 applications which are denied by no fault of their own
- Ensuring that any immigration reform proposal in Congress benefits EB-5 investors particularly those that have already invested and are waiting for the immigration benefits
- Protecting existing investors from ex-post facto changes to the program
- Advocating for transparent and reasonable processing times, data and accountability from USCIS and the Department of State;
- Keeping USCIS accountable by requesting data on IPO staffing levels and future staffing plans under the Freedom of Information Act is AIIA’s most immediate priority. This information allows us to understand how USCIS plans to address extensive visa backlogs, inefficient visa processing, and how responsive they are to the program’s reform.
- Additionally, AIIA seeks updated USCIS data on I-526 and I-485 filings, approvals, and denials to better gauge the EB-5 visa backlog for oversubscribed countries, including China, India, and Vietnam. This information allows us to more efficiently organize our legislative action plan for the next time we approach Congress. If we can track how USCIS has been processing EB-5 applications and petitions, we can hold USCIS accountable for their growing processing times.
- Ensuring that USCIS follows through on the provisions stipulated in the Reform and Integrity Act, and that all investor interests continue to be protected in their implementation
- Ensuring that the Regional Center authorization process is effective and streamlined in order to protect investment funds held by RCs prior to the program lapse
- Using reorganization under the RIA to promote processing time standards for I-526 and I-829 petitions. Our organization seeks to reduce processing times to 8-9 months (240 days), the pre-COVID processing time standard.
- Proposing a standard passage of 180 days to be sufficient for satisfying the regulatory standard for exhaustion of administrative remedies.
- Participating in Stakeholder Engagements on behalf of investors and seeking investor-oriented engagements and meetings.
How does AIIA plan to achieve those goals?
AIIA has developed the following strategic action plan in order to achieve our long-term goals.
- Congressional relationship-building with key representatives and senators which focuses on portraying the EB-5 program from the perspective of Immigrant Investors.
- Our goal is to tackle the “cash-for-visa” perception which pervades public perception of EB-5 and to provide the real human narrative about the effect the program can have on immigrants and American workers. We hope to create professional-quality EB-5 project stories from investors by highlighting the immense benefits brought to American communities, workforces, and economies.
- Working with our congressional allies to bring ethical EB-5 projects into their districts, benefitting both the local workforce of their constituencies, and bolstering the state economy.
- AIIA seeks to continue using our political relationships created during our reauthorization campaign to resist policy volatility in any future EB-5 amendments, new legislation, or judicial rulings. By providing a mutually beneficial relationship between EB-5 investors and congressional constituencies, the EB-5 program can improve its reputation as a program which benefits both the American economy and American workforces, as well as provides ample opportunity to immigrant investors.
- Strategic messaging campaign with non-elected officials and allies.
- Civic engagement campaign aimed at teaching all investors the value and art of self-advocacy.
- Administrative branch outreach with DHS, DOS, IPO officials focused on program-issues such as processing delays and other rules and procedures which impact the quality of the immigration experience.
- Forge allies through liaison and partnerships with key AILA members and immigration committees.
- Social media campaigns, education, AIIA member resource libraries, newsletters and regular investor-clinics aimed at providing personalized support and assistance to members.