The ranking minority member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), has recently been soliciting information from approved USCIS EB-5 Regional Centers. Specifically, the letters have been requesting that the regional centers provide certain documentation to the committee, including regional center approval notices, information related to the total amount of investment made through the regional center, the country of origin for each individual who has invested through the regional center, the name, address and description of each business that received EB-5 investments through the regional center, confirmation of the total number of new jobs created through the regional center whether direct or indirect, fees charged or received by the regional center, a listing of all corporate officers of the regional center and the name and address of every entity with which the regional center has a contractual relationship.
For many regional centers with substantive operations, this information that the committee is seeking to review will prove to be quite onerous to compile and respond to.
The scope of this request is incredibly broad, and regional centers who receive this letter should consult with their counsel before responding. At this time, it is does not appear that regional centers are legally obligated to respond to the request, as it is not a subpoena. It is recommended that each regional center should contact appropriate counsel for advice. The Senate has been reviewing the Department of Homeland Security’s oversight of the EB-5 program for some time, and this letter appears to be connected to that review. We have contacted the committee for more information related to the request, and will be providing updates as they become available.
It is unknown if these letters are connected to investigation of the EB-5 program by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Grassley was investigating the EB-5 Program during 2013, around the same time the then head of USCIS, Alejandro Mayorkas, was up for nomination to become the number two official at the Department of Homeland Security. There has not been any public action by Sen. Grassley since December 2013. Sen. Coburn had led a boycott of Republicans from Mr. Mayorkas’s hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in July 2013. Many individuals have suspected the inquiry by Sen. Grassley and the conduct of Sen. Coburn during this past year is politically motivated.
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the summer of 2013, only to see it stall in the House. The Senate bill would permanently authorize the EB-5 program and make other changes to the program. The EB-5 program is authorized through September 2015. Sen. Coburn is on record as opposing the Senate bill.