Saturday, June 23, 2012

USCIS economists drop a bomb on EB-5 stakeholders

It was supposed to be a conference call to bring newly hired EB-5 economists from the California Service Center to USCIS HQ in Washington for a forum.  On June 22, Director Alejandro Mayorkas and the economists went first, and then in-person and on-the-phone participants could ask questions or make comments.
It was near the end of their presentation when the USCIS economists dropped their bomb on EB-5 stakeholders.  The USCIS economists said that land acquisition costs cannot be used in I/O models (methodologies) to show the creation of indirect and induced jobs.  I understand the reasoning, but this is another change in policy -- another example of "moving the goalposts", just like the now-infamous "tenant occupancy" memo of February 17, which was sprung on EB-5 stakeholders without warning.
There was very little utility in the information provided by the USCIS economists.  The call was not a total waste of time, but almost.  USCIS employees generally demonstrate that the less said and the more vague the better.  That approach serves the agency's interests well, but does nothing to help its customers.