CEO of Victorville Regional Center disputes USCIS claims
The chief executive officer of the Victorville Regional Center, which is being probed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), is disputing the claims that the EB-5 regional center’s projects are defunct.
Keith Metzler, the CEO, has said that all four projects being questioned by the USCIS are active, according to the Contra Costa Times. The USCIS had sent Victorville a rare notice of “intent to terminate” in early May, giving the city until July 27 to show that its projects continue to be viable.
“Essentially, Victorville RC [Regional Center] is actively promoting what appears to be defunct projects as viable development projects on its public Internet Web site and providing a downloadable brochure that clearly claims that these projects are viable,” read the USCIS’s letter.
The four projects in question are a wastewater treatment plant, a hybrid electrical generation plant, intermodal rail improvements and airport infrastructure improvements.
The wastewater treatment plant is expected to begin operation shortly and will serve a nearby Dr. Pepper plant, Laine Carlson, assistant engineer for Victorville, told the news source.
Metzler said that the other three projects have only been delayed due to the struggling economy and are not defunct. He also said that promotional materials questioned by the USCIS were simply out of date.
“The marketing materials in question were inadvertently not updated when the [wastewater treatment plant] became the most pressing of the four projects,” he said in a letter to the USCIS.
The USCIS pointed out a number of problems with the EB-5 regional center’s projects but some believe that it will be able to survive.
“It is my professional and personal opinion that the Victorville Regional Center will be able to continue … taking investments earmarked for the Victorville Wastewater Treatment Purification facility when USCIS sees the response and thereby updates their information and adjusts their perspective,” attorney David Hirson, who represents the Victorville Regional Center, told the news source.
The EB-5 visa program gives foreign nationals a chance to become eligible for U.S. green cards. If they invest $1 million in an American business and that investment leads to the creation or preservation of 10 jobs then the investor become green card eligible.
A great deal of EB-5 investments are handled through EB-5 regional centers, which can be any private entrepreneur, corporation or government agency. These centers help manage and direct the investments of foreign nationals. Some regional centers, like the one in Victorville, are designated Targeted Employment Areas and only $500,000 need be invested in them.