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EB5 INVESTORS MAGAZINE

Top 25 Attorneys 2018: EB-5 Attorneys in Specialized Fields

By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff

EB5 Investors Magazine is pleased to announce the Top Attorneys in Specialized fields. To be eligible, these distinguished attorneys are recognized as top attorneys in specialized EB-5 practice groups, which focus on EB-5 policy and lobbying matters, complex cases and immigration compliance.

For more information or to contact any of these professionals, we invite you to view their listings at www.EB5Investors.com/directories.

ROBERT C. DIVINE 

BAKER DONELSON | IMMIGRATION GROUP CHAIR 

Robert C. Divine chairs the immigration group of Baker Donelson with offices in 24 U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C. He served from 2004 through 2006 as chief counsel and, for a time, acting director of USCIS. Divine is the author of Immigration Practice, a 1,600-page practical treatise on all aspects of U.S. immigration law. He served for seven years as vice president of IIUSA, an industry association for EB-5 regional centers. He represents EB-5 developers, regional centers, and individual foreign investors, balancing immigration and securities considerations, and litigating when necessary. 

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EB-5 INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR A BETTER FUTURE?

Obviously, Congress needs to enact more visa numbers and permanent regional center legislation. Limited increases in minimum investment levels, restriction of TEA scope, sensible integrity measures and protection for defrauded investors  whether by legislation or regulation  probably would enhance the program's political support. Fraudsters need to go away or be punished severely, but SEC needs to be careful not to destroy viable projects in seeking to protect investors. USCIS should eliminate redeployment requirement after capital has been at-risk in project for two years and otherwise must clarify the parameters of required redeployment during increasingly long waits for visa numbers. 

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WHEN IT COMES TO EB-5 LITIGATION OR ADVOCACY?

Investors need to sue USCIS when it denies investors because of its overly restrictive notions of "prohibited redemption" and "debt arrangement," termination or change of a project's regional center sponsor, "material change" prior to investors' admission as a resident, and other reasons. Investors increasingly are bringing litigation alleging misleading or unfair treatment. The SEC may become increasingly aggressive in enforcement against those involved in securities offerings. Our securities, immigration enforcement and litigation teams are experienced with all such litigation and are well positioned to bring or defend litigation for individual investors, group investors, regional centers and developers.   

H. RONALD KLASKO

KLASKO IMMIGRATION LAW PARTNERS LLP | FOUNDING MEMBER

H. Ronald Klasko is the founding member at Klasko Immigration Law Partners LLP. His 25-member EB-5 team has represented thousands of investors, over 50 regional centers and numerous developers. Klasko has served five terms as chair of AILA’s EB-5 committee and as a former AILA national president and general counsel. Klasko was named the world’s most respected corporate immigration lawyer by the Who’s Who of Business Lawyers. He was invited by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary to testify on immigration reform and by USCIS and the Department of State to engage in training officers.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EB-5 INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR A BETTER FUTURE?

The EB-5 industry is in a plateau. The halcyon days of the past 8 to 10 years are in the rear-view mirror. They will likely not reappear absent an increased visa number allocation, either by legislation or litigation. The EB-5 industry of 2019 is characterized by long waiting lists, disillusioned investors, searching for alternative markets, adjudication delays, failed projects, filing before the anticipated investment amount increase, short-term program renewals, regional center terminations, smaller projects, increased litigation, redeployment without guidelines and finding creative alternatives for investors. The good news for the patient is that I believe better times are likely ahead.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WHEN IT COMES TO EB-5 LITIGATION OR ADVOCACY?

I gravitated to EB-5 because of the challenge to shape a new immigration program and because EB-5 is a win-win program. My first involvement was in 1991 when I traveled to Asia to present direct investment opportunities to institutions that represented Asian investors. I left EB-5 for several years when the program lost its way, but I have been actively involved for the last decade. The program is a rare example of a government program that serves the purposes of attracting foreign investment, creating jobs and allowing development projects that lacked affordable capital to move forward.

ANGELO PAPARELLI

SEYFARTH SHAW LLP | PARTNER

Angelo Paparelli is co-chair of the EB-5 immigrant investment specialty team and a partner in the business immigration practice group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. A certified immigration law specialist with a background in international business and tax law, Paparelli brings unique expertise to the EB-5 field. He is recognized as a Brand 1 immigration attorney by Chambers, Legal 500, LawDragon, Best Lawyers and the Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EB-5 INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR A BETTER FUTURE?

Until economic conditions provide objective reasons to stem the flow of foreign capital, there should be NO annual quota for the EB-5 program because it creates jobs, promotes economic development, and generates urgently needed tax revenues. Federal immigration policies should embrace, rather than deviate from, accepted, otherwise lawful business and investment practices. Defrauded investors should be given a soft landing to allow them to transition into another lawful status with work permission. These should be done to show the global investment community that the U.S. is committed to EB-5 program viability and integrity.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WHEN IT COMES TO EB-5 LITIGATION OR ADVOCACY?

Fortunately, EB-5 litigation trends are mirroring the successful outcomes of multiple immigration-related challenges to the USCIS’s informal practice of adopting new policies by web publication and individual adjudications without first complying with the requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to provide public notice and offer interested stakeholders an opportunity to comment before any change takes effect. In terms of advocacy, as allowed by the APA, the EB-5 industry should proactively propose workable and enlightened regulations rather than merely waiting for Congress or USCIS to act.

LAURA FOOTE REIFF

GREENBERG TRAURIG LLP | CO-CHAIR, BUSINESS IMMIGRATION AND COMPLIANCE GROUP

Laura Foote Reiff has been involved in EB-5 since the program’s inception in 1990. With roots as a business immigration attorney assisting with EB-5 direct investments, Reiff has grown to become co-chair of Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s business immigration and compliance group, a co-managing shareholder for the firm, and the leader of the EB-5 Immigration Coalition — a diverse organization of trade associations and businesses working to advance the EB-5 program. Reiff collaborates with Greenberg Traurig’s dedicated EB-5 team, which includes professionals such as economists and securities attorneys, to assist both investors and developers across the full spectrum of EB-5 matters.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EB-5 INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR A BETTER FUTURE?

There has been some real changes on the horizon for the EB-5 program. The program’s popularity and proven track record make it appealing for foreign investors. However, the USCIS review of these cases have been growing increasingly harder.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WHEN IT COMES TO EB-5 LITIGATION OR ADVOCACY?

I have been actively committed to reforming one of the most challenging aspects of EB-5: the program’s policy complexities. I find the bureaucracy of interfacing with agencies is frustrating and works against the EB-5 program’s underlying goal of creating U.S. jobs. Despite the intricacies of navigating EB-5 policy, I find that working toward transparency in business immigration laws and regulations is one of the most rewarding components of my job. My endeavors as a registered lobbyist for the EB-5 Immigration Coalition allow me to have a direct effect in promoting and supporting the continuation of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

LINCOLN STONE

STONE GRZEGOREK & GONZALEZ LLP | PARTNER

Lincoln Stone has 28 years of experience with the EB-5 program, specializing in EB-5 compliance and solutions for denials, litigation and reorganizations. He helped several thousand EB-5 investors immigrate to the US, and aided U.S. organizations in raising some $5 billion in EB-5 capital for more than 200 different enterprises. Stone served a decade on the national EB-5 committee of AILA, organized the first national EB-5 conferences, and published dozens of articles covering numerous interdisciplinary topics. He is editor in chief of AILA’s book, “Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs,” as well as the IIUSA’s Regional Center Business Journal.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EB-5 INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR A BETTER FUTURE?

I would like to see the last of EB-5 regional center program “sunsets” and the regional center law made permanent. There is already so much risk to contend with, and the repeated short-term extensions are fueling bad practice.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WHEN IT COMES TO EB-5 LITIGATION OR ADVOCACY?

For decades the litigation focus had been of just one dimension: litigating against the government to remedy an unfavorable decision. Nowadays, an altogether different dynamic reigns, as the wrestling with the government is further complicated by SEC enforcement and receiverships, workouts and bankruptcies, and varied forms of litigation all along the EB-5 industry supply chain.

STEPHEN YALE-LOEHR

MILLER MAYER | ATTORNEY

Stephen Yale-Loehr is an attorney of counsel in Miller Mayer’s immigration practice group. He brings over 35 years of immigration law experience to bear in advising corporate and individual clients on a broad array of family- and employment-based immigration matters. Yale-Loehr also teaches immigration and asylum law at Cornell Law School as a professor of immigration practice. He also founded and was the original executive director of Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the trade association of EB-5 immigrant investor regional centers. He is annually listed in International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers as among the world’s best immigration lawyers.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE EB-5 INDUSTRY CHANGE FOR A BETTER FUTURE?

We need to add EB-5 numbers. The current backlogs are too long, especially for investors from China. Absent an increase in numbers, the EB-5 program will never achieve its true potential. More numbers would give confidence to investors and allow the program to create more jobs for U.S. workers.

WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING WHEN IT COMES TO EB-5 LITIGATION OR ADVOCACY?

The industry realizes that change will come from a combination of advocacy and litigation. We are seeing both. For example, litigation challenging the inclusion of family members in the annual cap of 10,000 EB-5 visa numbers is succeeding so far. And IIUSA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and others are writing white papers urging USCIS to change its views on key issues like redemption and redeployment of EB-5 capital.

 

EB5Investors.com Staff

EB5Investors.com Staff

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