Frustrated by Congressional failure to pass immigration reform legislation in 2014, last week House Democrats initiated what is known as a “discharge petition” to draw attention to the issue and try to put pressure on House Republicans who have refused to vote on a comprehensive bill. If successful, the maneuver would have allowed Democrats to bypass the regular committee process and force a vote on the floor to consider the latest proposal (H.R. 15). No Republicans crossed party lines to vote for it, however, so it will fall short of the 218 it needed to succeed.
House Republicans have been the focus of immigration reform advocates since the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive reform bill (S. 744) in June 2013. Outside of Washington signs of frustration are clear, with reports that the lack of progress on reform could impact both parties in the 2014 mid-term elections. But some House members are moving forward on legislation to address individual immigration issues without waiting for party leaders to agree on broader reform.
Specifically, Representative Jared Polis, D-Colo., introduced the “American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2014” (H.R. 4178) to expand and make permanent the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which provides visas to foreign investors in exchange for investments of $500,000 or $1 million in an American business. Real estate has traditionally been the most popular industry for the program, with a recent study indicating 35 percent of investors targeted real estate. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the EB-5 Program has resulted in more than $4.7 billion for qualified U.S. projects since 2005, creating 95,000 American jobs.
Immigration reform remains a critical issue for the multifamily industry, with one in five renter households being headed by an immigrant and immigrants comprising 22 percent of the construction workforce. NMHC has worked closely with policymakers to ensure immigration reform provides legal clarity for employers, does not overly burden property owners with enforcement requirements, and promotes efficient labor markets for construction and property operations.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Issues New Rules for EB 5 Projects
- Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee to Urge Reform and Reauthorize of the EB-5 Regional Center Program Before It Expires on September 30
- Congress Focuses on Immigration
- Senate Spends Week Debating Immigration, Both Parties Leave Empty Handed
- Immigration Reform an Ongoing Challenge for Congress in 2018