As our regular readers know, Lake Point EB-5 finally got "unstuck" at the very over-burdened USCIS EB-5 adjudications office after a year and a half of waiting. Today's approval strengthens our faith that our pipeline of pending Lake Point EB-5 I-526s will move along more swiftly, now that USCIS adjudicators have had an opportunity to vet the Lake Point Project, which remains the only bona fide, investment-grade EB-5 opportunity on the market.
While the sequester and the continued partisan budget fights in Congress are indeed to blame for the USCIS EB-5 unit remaining chronically understaffed, one can't help but wonder about the terrible judgment calls coming out of Washington as far as adjudications prioritization. If there is ANY USCIS unit which should be at the front of the funding line, it's the beleaguered folks in Laguna Niguel. As a matter of policy, USCIS filing fees should be channeled in accordance with their intended purpose, and the EB-5 unit continues to get fiscally short-changed by USCIS decision-makers in Washington.
The fact is that USCIS' EB-5 unit is more than self-funding; high-ticket I-924 filing and amendment fees plus thousands of expensive I-526s probably make this the only money-making USCIS unit. More importantly, consider positive economic impact: if there is ANY USCIS office who's efforts correlate directly with the improvement of the U.S. economy, it's these folks. With over 5000 petitions in queue, there are BILLIONS of investor dollars trapped in Regional Center escrow accounts...money which SHOULD be already working hard to create jobs.
When you consider the immense complexity of EB-5 adjudications when compared to any other visa category, you begin to get a clear picture of level of sophistication required for the job. Consider the last I-924 RFE I received several months ago: it was an absolute STUDY on econometric analysis; whether it was written by one of their relatively new economists or an EB-5 adjudications, it reflected an extraordinary level of intellectual scrutiny on someone's part, notwithstanding the mountains of files that person no doubt has on his or her desk. (To put it more bluntly, the analysis was so complex that I didn't even understand some of the questions until someone with a functioning left brain translated; hey, I never said I was good at spreadsheets...(-;)
I know the decision to move EB-5 adjudications to Washington was announced eons ago, I know there is no money to even think about exactly how and when that will happen, and I know that as of this past summer, we have been told to send our I-526s to Texas (???). Considering the Herculean efforts we continue to see from Laguna Niguel - AFTER they've essentially been told they are having the hardest job in USCIS adjudications taken away from them -- might it not be a good time to reconsider the move, get these guys some of the EB-5 filing fees USCIS is firing in other directions, and let them do what they do best?