On February 19, 2022, Behring Companies filed a lawsuit against several government agencies for their failure to reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of State (DOS), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are the defendants in this case. In essence, the lawsuit seeks to force these agencies to process pending I-526 petitions from regional center investors, which have been put on hold, and reauthorize regional center investment.
This is not the first time that Behring Companies has filed an EB-5-related lawsuit. In June 2021, the organization was able to win a court case that ultimately resulted in the deauthorization of the EB-5 Modernization Rule. As a result, the minimum EB5 investment thresholds were significantly lowered. The court’s decision still stands as of February 2022.
Why is it Urgent to Reauthorize Regional Center Investment?
The extended lapse of the regional center program—which is now over eight months long—has seriously inconvenienced many members of the EB-5 investment industry, including regional center operators, investors, immigration attorneys, and others. Many expected the regional center EB-5 investment model to be reauthorized in just a few short weeks. As a result of the U.S. government’s failure to pass EB-5 legislation, thousands of investors find themselves unable to continue in the EB-5 visa process. Billions of dollars of EB-5 funding could be at risk, as regional center investors are currently unable to receive their visas.
If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) eventually decides to deny the I-526 petitions filed by regional center investors before the program’s expiration, many EB-5 projects would not be able to continue operating. Behring Companies’ lawsuit certainly reflects the feelings of the investors stuck in processing limbo.
Fortunately, it seems that the regional center program may be reauthorized as part of a March 11, 2022 appropriations bill. A potential EB-5 reform bill was leaked on February 3, 2022, and it indicates that the regional center model may receive reauthorization until 2027. Surely, this would be in the best interests of everyone involved in the EB-5 industry.