After being inaugurated last week, President Joe Biden began to tackle immigration reform on his first day in office, announcing that he intends to propose comprehensive legislative reforms of the immigration system to Congress. While campaigning last year, one of Biden’s main talking points was the need for major reforms to America’s immigration system, and his proposed plan would certainly do that. While the full text of the bill isn’t available yet, the fact sheet released by the White House on January 20th offers some important insights.
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, if passed, would undoubtedly be the largest legislative overhaul of American immigration in decades. The bill aims for comprehensive reforms on every level of US immigration. According to the White House, “the legislation modernizes our immigration system, and prioritizes keeping families together, growing our economy, responsibly managing the border with smart investments, addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, and ensuring that the United States remains a refuge for those fleeing persecution.” While the EB-5 program is not at the forefront of the legislation’s goals, the reforms it seeks to institute would be an unprecedented windfall for the EB-5 industry.
Notably, under a bullet point section entitled “Grow our economy”, the White House states:
“This bill clears employment-based visa backlogs, recaptures unused visas, reduces lengthy wait times, and eliminates per-country visa caps. The bill makes it easier for graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the United States; improves access to green cards for workers in lower-wage sectors; and eliminates other unnecessary hurdles for employment-based green cards. The bill provides dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorization, and children are prevented from “aging out” of the system. The bill also creates a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development, gives DHS the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, and incentivizes higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers.”
The bill would also exempt spouses and children of green card holders from employment-based immigration quotas.
All in all, Biden’s Immigration plan bodes well for the EB-5 Program. The release from The White House indicates that one of The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021’s main goals is economic growth. This idea of using immigration to promote economic growth isn’t a new one, it was the catalyst for the creation of the EB-5 program. The reforms that this bill aims to institute would increase the efficacy, and honor the intent and spirit of the EB-5 program.