Thursday, January 12, 2012

Conversation With the Director

I participated in a conversation with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday, January 12.  He apparently called the meeting to roll out a [nearly] final draft of his EB-5 memo and to discuss a variety of other issues.
The one on my plate -- readjudication of "pre-approved" EB-5 investment projects at the I-526 petition stage -- he apparently doesn't get yet.  He referred to situations in which a "general" I-924 is filed with EB-5 project specific documents, including the business plan, and other or different documents are filed with the I-526 petition.  I can assure the director that none of the I-924s filed by my regional centers can be fairly called "general" in nature.  The docmentation is voluminous and very specific, and is the same as the documents filed with the I-526.
But the director did recognize the readjudication issue as "a core issue for us to get right."
The main issue from the director's point of view was to develop and provide accurate guidance to his immigration service officers.  The main issues from my point of view were elimination of readjudication and establishing predictability and certainty in the adjudication process.
"We're moving as fast as possible  to implement [15-day] premium processing," Mayorkas declared.
While that's good to hear, most insiders don't think they will see premium processing for at least another six months or more.
Other news concerned embrace of the "fund" concept.  In the regional center context, Mayorkas said, as long as the new commercial enterprise is a holding company, it can invest in a variety of businesses such that if one or more fail, investors may still be successful in removal of conditions if one or two businesses are successful.
Mayorkas confirmed that bridge loans are permitted where they are referred to in the business plan and are necessary to get an new commercial enterprise started.  He and his lawyer also confirmed that census tracts may be used to identify a targeted employment area, and that unemployment data may come from reliable sources other than local area unemployment statistics produced by a government agency, U.S. Census Bureau data, and data from the American Community Survey.
Mayorkas also referred to three new hires -- economists, I think -- and said USCIS is conducting interviews in a move to hire "entrepreneurs in residence".
The meeting was more then three hours long.