On Friday January 25 — a chaotic day plagued by major air travel delays amidst affected government employees leaving work due to missed wages — Congressional deadlock subsided and the longest shutdown in American history finally ended. With the passage of a new Continuing Resolution, the EB-5 Regional Center is revived and extended through February 15, 2019.
Our readers will recall that partial government funding and the attendant statutory provisions continuing the EB-5 Regional Center program lapsed on December 22, 2018. A major sticking point over continued government operations was the inclusion of funding for President Trump’s promised southern border wall, an 11th hour demand made after the Senate had voted unanimously to extend government operations and affected immigration programs through for seven weeks.
Despite that the Regional Center program had lapsed, USCIS indicated that it would continue to accept Regional Center-affiliated Forms I-526 and I-485 notwithstanding its previous guidance. USCIS, however, could not approve any Regional Center associated case and affected investors overseas awaiting visa issuance were also not able to proceed. The shutdown had no effect on Direct petitions, nor on Form I-829 filings.
Many stakeholders wonder to what degree USCIS made progress on its filing workload during the shutdown, perhaps by flexing adjudicators to handle its I-829 backlog or by continuing adjudications as normal to tee up a month’s worth of decisions to be issued in short order. Regardless, the reauthorization of the program is welcome news to investors who fretted its temporary lapse.