Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stuck in the mud and spinning away

"The '64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who's been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing." - Lisa Vito, as played by Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei in the 1992 movie "My Cousin Vinny"

     The tire that's stuck in the mud is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the tire that's spinning is the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).  How so?
     The AAO issued two regional center decisions overturning the California Service Center's denial of an application  to amend a regional center's geographic area and approved industries and an application for regional center designation by applying the May 30, 2013, EB-5 adjudications policy memo issued by -- who else? -- USCIS.
     In the first case (decision dated June 12, 2013), the AAO wrote that because the May 30 memo no longer requires regional centers to file amendments to "amend" their geographic areas and approved industries, that application for five states in the Midwest and 12 more industries, was due to be approved.
     In the second case (dated July 19, 2013), the AAO wrote that "verifiable detail" is not required because the May 30 memo now requires only "general predictions" with respect to job creation, capital investment, and timeframe for an EB-5 investment project. Federal law says that regional center applicants must submit a "general proposal".
     True to form, USCIS is not following the law, its own regulations or policy guidance.  So it's stuck in the mud.

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