Top 25 Attorneys 2019: Top 5 Rising Stars

EB5 Investors Magazine is pleased to announce the Top 5 Rising Stars in the EB-5 industry. To be eligible, distinguished attorneys are increasing their footprint in the EB-5 industry.

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



Joseph “Joey” Barnett is a partner at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP who specializes in EB-5. He represents immigrant investors seeking permanent residency through regional centers and direct EB-5 businesses, as well as U.S. developers and regional centers to prepare EB-5 exemplar applications. Barnett has worked in the EB-5 industry since 2011 and has successfully challenged USCIS adjudications through administrative appeals and federal writ of mandamus lawsuits. Barnett is a prominent EB-5 blogger and author of numerous articles in American Immigration Lawyers Association journals and is a member of the editorial committee of IIUSA.      

What trends are you seeing in the EB-5 industry? 

The biggest recent trends are litigating unreasonably delayed EB-5 petitions, terminations of regional centers for failure to promote economic growth, and examining new markets for immigrant investors who are not subject to a visa backlog. Regional centers are also exploring the transfer and use of EB-5 capital from troubled or distressed businesses that have not been able to create jobs for I-829 purposes. Additionally, many immigrant investors are turning to E-2 and L-1 nonimmigrant visa petitions to enter the U.S. more quickly than through EB-5.       

Why did you get involved in the EB-5 industry? 

My first permanent job out of law school involved EB-5, and I have focused on this employment-based category ever since. I have enjoyed working in this industry because EB-5 is a multidisciplinary visa program that involves immigration, real estate development, business and corporate, and administrative law. Adding in the ever-changing policy guidelines and adjudication trends, there’s a lot to keep you on your toes. As someone who has always been highly competitive and relatively impatient, I enjoy writing compelling arguments on behalf of my clients when USCIS does not follow the law.     



Mark A.M. Catam is the founder and principal attorney of Catam Global Law, P.C. (CGL), a Los Angeles-based legal services firm that specializes in the areas of business and corporate immigration, EB-5 investment and global immigration. He established CGL after more than a decade of experience mastering his craft in all facets of immigration, including EB-5, and forging relationships with foreign investors, entrepreneurs, regional centers, developers and other EB-5 stakeholders. Additionally, he provides in-house and independent legal counsel to startups, mid-sized and high growth companies in immigration worksite compliance, audits and enforcement. He was selected by Super Lawyers as one of the 2020 Rising Stars in immigration.     

What Trends are you seeing in the EB-5 industry?  

First, the recent implementation of the EB-5 Modernization Rules, which included the increase in the investment threshold and changes in TEA, has certainly impacted the program. Perhaps we are in a transition phase and all stakeholders are gradually adjusting to the new rules, most especially the investors, but I am optimistic that foreign investors will continue to realize and appreciate the value the EB-5 program would bring to their families. Second, I am seeing lots of EB-5 related litigation. IPO has not been very transparent in what is causing all the processing delays. My belief is the only way to retain the program’s appeal, albeit the new investment tag price, is to cut the government processing time significantly.   

Why did you get involved in the EB-5 industry?  

I have always been interested in EB-5 immigration since I started my law firm career many years ago.  However, during that time, the law firm I was working at was not yet actively involved in EB-5. We were first mostly doing source of funds, but what really excited me was the project and regional center side of things, so I pushed for my previous employer to provide I-924 filings, exemplars, project template work and regional center registrations. The standalone EB-5 is my personal favorite since I get to assist true entrepreneurs to structure their investments to comply with EB-5. We have our usual real estate projects, but I especially love structuring EB-5 for niche companies.



Jessica DeNisi is a senior associate with Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP. DeNisi works with developers and investors who seek to use foreign capital under the EB-5 program to fund job-creating projects as well as E-2 treaty investors. Prior to practicing immigration law, DeNisi worked as a tax and business attorney. She completed her undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University and earned an M.A. in Near Eastern studies from the University of Arizona. She received her Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Washington School of Law.  

What trends are you seeing in the EB-5 industry? 

After the effective date of the new regulations and the rush to file petitions in November 2020, the EB-5 market has cooled. However, investors are still looking carefully at attractive investment opportunities, particularly those located in TEAs. Although the number of new projects and investors has decreased, the number of RFEs, NOIDs, and troubled projects has increased. These trends, coupled with long waiting lists, disillusioned investors and adjudication delays, presents a need for viable alternatives for investors and creative strategies for dealing with challenging circumstances. The level of complexity in the EB-5 world is certainly increasing, but better times are ahead.     

Why did you get involved in the EB-5 industry? 

I found EB-5 through my work as a tax attorney. While my start in the EB-5 immigration field was unplanned, I have chosen to continue to work in the industry as it combines much of the creativity, complexity and strategy of business or tax practice with the human element. It is very satisfying both to know that helping someone obtain a green card is life changing, and to be able to see the concrete economic impact of EB-5 projects across the country.



Natalia Polukhtin, the founder and principal at Global Practice, specializes in investment immigrant and nonimmigrant categories.  She has unique expertise in documentation of complex source of funds originated from former Soviet Union states, but also assists clients from all over the world with starting business in the U.S. and accomplishing their immigration goals through investment, application of professional skills and job creation. She is a member of Georgia and Arizona State bars. Prior to her legal career, Polukhtin obtained her Ph.D. from the Moscow State University in Russia and continues to apply her expertise in intercultural communication to assist foreign nationals with their immigration needs.  

What trends are you seeing in the EB-5 industry? 

With recent increase of investment capital amount, backlog and legislative uncertainty of the future of EB5 program, the markup of the investors appears to be changing. I am noticing growing interest from investors from the parts of the world that traditionally were considered emerging markets in EB5 industry, such as Russia and Eastern European countries. It appears that the citizens of the countries not subject to the adjudication backlog started to recognize EB-5 not only as an affordable immigration vehicle, but also as an asset protection tool. I am seeing interest in the projects with verified track of performance and predictable strategies for placement of the capital that can be incorporated into the investor’s long-term plans. 

Why did you get involved in the EB-5 industry? 

With background in journalism and communication studies supplementing my Juris Doctor, I see every immigration case as an opportunity to communicate a personal story of each client through his supporting documents, presentation of profile, and immigration strategy. I found EB-5 practice especially rewarding because of the special bond I develop with people who rely on me for the collection of evidence on sources of funds. Each project of this nature inevitably emerges us into client’s history of the accumulation of wealth through professional development, family connections and vision of financial planning. This is the link that is not broken even at the completion of the case and allows me to stay in touch with almost all of my past clients for years.



An advanced EB-5 practitioner, Rebecca S. Singh has worked with numerous project developers, analyzing and crafting entrepreneur, direct-pooled, and regional center EB-5 projects.  With over nine years of experience, Singh is highly proficient at investor petitions, counseling investor clients through all stages. Singh has successfully tackled complex source of funds issues for clients worldwide.  She has extensive marketing experience, speaking at conferences both domestically and overseas. Singh has appeared and produced podcasts and other media streams. She is part of the Presidential Advisory Council of IIUSA and an active member of American Immigration Lawyers Association.    

What trends are you seeing in the EB-5 industry?

As the EB-5 industry transforms itself from large-scale glamorous projects to smaller, sizeable projects, we find that we are working with different industries, other than just real estate.  As a direct result of the increased amount, we are not only seeing smaller projects but more equity deals and entrepreneur projects with the increased investment amounts. We are in interesting times with the changes in regulations and legislation still looming over the industry. EB-5 is still strong with new emerging markets. I am excited to see what more the EB-5 program brings to the U.S. economy and infrastructure.  

Why did you get involved in the EB-5 industry?

Actually EB-5 found me!  Both immigration and business are passions of mine, and I was very lucky to have found an industry that incorporates both.  I joined the Mona Shah & Associates Global team in 2011. I saw not only how the program benefited the economy and creating thousands of jobs, but how it provided a pathway for those immigrants who would otherwise not be able to establish residency in the U.S.  What I love most about EB-5 is the creativity. Working with all types of developers and entrepreneurs, and traveling all over the world, we have been able to structure projects in multiple industries.


EB5Investors.com Staff

EB5Investors.com Staff