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Jan 30th, 2021

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Mayorkas draws closer to leading DHS — ‘the best news’ for EB-5 processing productivity

The Senate, with some Republican support, advanced the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. A final vote to confirm him will take place on February 1. EB-5 processing expert Suzanne Lazicki calls this “the best news for future processing productivity and processing times.” She point to his “expertise, professionalism, and transparency” as cause for optimism in the EB-5 community.On January 28, 2021, a 55-42 vote in the Senate broke the Republican filibuster of the Mayorkas nomination. Senator. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had placed a hold on the nomination, citing what he claimed was a need for Mayorkas to properly explain how he would uphold federals laws, and deal with the Mexican-border wall.Democrats and former homeland security officials were not happy with the stalling tactic; traditionally, national security officials have been confirmed immediately after a new president’s inauguration.Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) lambasted the delay: “Because of the tactics of some Republican members, particularly the junior senator from Missouri, Mr. Mayorkas’s nomination is being needlessly stalled.”The Republican senators who helped break the filibuster, include Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Shelley Moore Capito.Why Mayorkas is great news for EB-5Perhaps the foremost expert in EB-5 processing, business plan writer Suzanne Lazicki has been a vocal critic of longer petition processing times; but she rejoices in the pick of Mayorkas to lead Homeland Security, and thus USCIS and the immigrant investor program: “When Mr. Mayorkas was director at USCIS (2009-2013), one of his goals was to build greater expertise, professionalism, and transparency into administration of the EB-5 program, and he pursued that goal with energy.”How Mayorkas improved EB-5 in the pastLazicki cites several key issues which Mayorkas deftly handled as director of USCIS between 2009 and 2013:When EB-5 adjudicators were not properly trained in business and economic matters, Mayorkas hired new staff with the proper qualifications. As he could appreciate the need for EB-5 officials to work better with other agencies such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FBI, he moved the EB-5 government offices from California to Washington D.C., and created the Investor Program Office (IPO). As Mayorkas recognized that EB-5 program requirements were neither properly defined nor promulgated, he led the publication of the first major program Policy Memo in 2013. Witnessing a lack of consistency in petition adjudication, Mayorkas created a Discretion Review Board.Beyond these notable achievements, Mayorkas was often personally engaged with stakeholders and in dealing with inquiries. In spite of those who would rather not see a department leader get actively involved on the front lines, Lazicki celebrates the nomination of Mayorkas.“For those of us who want the EB-5 program to be administered with expertise, professionalism, and transparency, having Mr. Mayorkas at the top at DHS is great news.”

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