CIS Ombudsman’s Office Hears Testimony on EB-5 Immigration Process

On March 5, 2013, the US Department of Homeland Security’s CIS Ombudsman Office held an EB-5 stakeholder meeting in Washington DC. The Ombudsman’s Office was created by section 452 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and is dedicated to improving the quality of citizenship and immigration services delivered to the public by providing individual case assistance, as well as making recommendations to improve the administration of immigration benefits. The executive summary, held after the stakeholder meeting began with Ombudsman Maria Odom’s explanation that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the challenges in the program and pose possible solutions.

During her address, she noted that since October 2012, the Ombudsman’s Office has received nearly 400 requests for assistance on EB-5 cases. The wide majority of these requests were to aid with the processing of delays.

Some of the concerns mentioned by the stakeholders during the meeting were as follows:

  • Stakeholders seek more direct communication with adjudicators
  • There is a lack of responsiveness in the EB-5 program emails
  • Posted processing times are unreliable
  • Frustration over receiving multiple RFEs
  • Quality, consistency and predictability of USCIS decisions varies widely
  • New program policies are implemented without notice

The last time the Ombudsman’s Office issued formal EB-5 Program recommendations to USCIS was in 2009. USCIS responded to those requests within a few months. US Immigration Fund is pleased the Ombudsman Office held a meeting on the EB-5 program to examine places of improvement and looks forward to the response from USCIS.