Bloomberg.com has posted a scary article on how America’s growing financial crisis might lower our nation’s appeal as a world financial center and repository of foreign investments. In a strange coincidence, Wall St. Journal immigration reporter, Miriam Jordan, reported today on the global relocation of people seeking a better, more prosperous life. Her article (“With Millions on the Move, This Guide Maps the Routes to Prosperity”) reports on a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, confirming that the U.S. still ranks #1 in “attractiveness to immigrants.”
If (despite the financial turmoil) our nation remains the destination country of choice for immigration, why are our legislators and the Administration not scurrying to adopt more welcoming investment- and employment-based immigration laws?
The Congress could start by reauthorizing the regional center pilot program, a critical component of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa category. Regional center authorization runs out on September 30. According to Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the failure to reauthorize the EB-5 regional center program will cause the loss of $100 million in investment and 3,000 new jobs in Vermont alone, and similar losses will occur in California, Maryland, Wisconsin and other states with active regional centers. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont is reportedly working with the Senate leadership to include a simple five-year extension in a continuing resolution (CR) that the House and Senate will pass next week to fund the government after September 30. The CR will start in the House and will not be subject to amendment in the Senate. Therefore, the EB-5 extension, if it is to be enacted before the sunset, must be included in the House version of the CR.
On another front, the House Judiciary Committee held a rescheduled mark up two days ago on four immigration bills including, H.R. 5882, a green card recapture bill supported by the Compete America coalition. The recapture bill ought not be controversial. It merely allows the preservation (recapture) of squandered immigrant visas left unused because the responsible agencies (State, USCIS and the FBI) could not process the allocated visa quota in prior years before each annual deadline. Alas, the committee ran out of time before it could mark up H.R. 5882. Reportedly, a mark up might be rescheduled for next week. If Congress decides to adjourn for the elections on September 26, however, then the chance of enacting H.R. 5882 grows very dim.
Laudably, Treasury Secretary Paulson and members of Congress are working this weekend to create a new government entity to assume toxic loans and restore stability to the financial system. Why can’t others in the legislative power structure, having just come off a five-week vacation, work over the weekend to inject prosperity into our country by the speedy adoption of enlightened and essential immigration laws?