From Left: Michael Gibson, Regina Thomas, Mike Xenick, Adam Green, George Wozencraft
Given the extraordinary growth in the EB-5 visa program over the past two years, it may go without saying that the EB-5 community was well represented at this year's AILA conference in San Diego.
At the USAdvisors.org booth, we spoke with many immigration attorneys who are seeing more interest in the program than ever before. Several attorneys had questions about which regional centers had the most viable projects and how their clients could use our services to select one.
The conference itself actually featured two sessions dedicated to EB-5 practice?one on EB-5 fundamentals and another on advanced issues in EB-5 law.
Leading the "EB-5 for Beginners" session was immigration attorney Boyd Campbell, who joined AILA's EB-5 Investors Committee in calling on USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas to make job creation through the EB-5 program a priority. He offered the following comments:
No one can legitimately accuse USCIS of promoting the EB-5 job creation program in a time of grave uncertainty and an agonizingly slow growth economy. On the contrary, there was ample evidence available at the 2011 AILA Annual Conference in San Diego that USCIS has no interest in job creation. High rates of denials of I-829 petitions (for the permanent green card) and challenges to states' designation of targeted employment areas, which strike at the heart of the EB-5 Program, are mounting evidence of the agency's callous disregard for this potentially robust job-creating engine.
|Boyd Campbell with Michael Gibson|
In addition to the EB-5-focused sessions, Brian Su of the Artisan Business Group hosted a separate EB-5 Business "Boot Camp" with speakers representing all corners of the EB-5 program. Michael Gibson of USAdvisors.org opened the event with a call to join IIUSA, the EB-5 program's advocacy and best practices group.
According to attorney Jose Latour, "the opportunity to share war stories" with "Boot Camp" attendees "who are seeing the ongoing mutation of EB-5 adjudication practices [was] priceless." Jose writes more about Brian Su's event on his immigration law blog.
In typical USAdvisors.org fashion, we managed to outdo ourselves with the booth. As if one television wasn't enough, our heavy-duty configuration was equipped with three sets displaying information about our EB-5 project database and images from our Chinese-language site. Assembling the booth, however, was no easy feat:
|The USAdvisors.org team setting up the booth|
From our vantage point in the booth, where we stayed from from June 14-18, we spoke to immigration attorneys, regional center operators, and other professionals in the EB-5 community about our due diligence services for EB-5 immigrant investors.
Phil Cohen of Strategic Element Consulting and Kevin Jeffers of Pinnint Ltd. also helped us work the booth. Phil writes business plans for emerging EB-5 regional centers, and Kevin develops EB-5 marketing and sales plans for Chinese audiences. Special thanks also goes to George Wozencraft, who served as our advocate and greeted visitors to the booth.
|Jeff Carr with Michael Gibson|
Several attendees also managed to stop by our hospitality suite to chat and enjoy refreshments.
Guests included Jeff Carr of Economic and Policy Resources, attorneys Boyd Campbell and Stephen Yale-Loehr, Kraig Schwigen of CMB Regional Center, Bill Gresser of the Upstate New York Regional Center, Brian Terwilliger of NES Financial, and John Li of EB5 Supermarket.
Also in attendance was attorney Kristina Rost, who offered the following comments on the AILA conference:
AILA 2011 did not disappoint. As always, the sessions and activities were bustling. Attending it is a great way to 'tune up' your expertise, get the latest news on your most interesting subjects, mingle with colleagues and friends, learn about new services and deepen the relationship with your business affiliates.
|John Li of EB5Supermarket.com with Michael Gibson and Mike Xenick|
We were also pleased to introduce Mike Xenick, our broker-dealer, to conference attendees. Mike will be helping us perform due diligence and connect with immigrant investors in China and around the world.
Thanks again to everyone who worked with us at the conference. We look forward to your continued support.