Question on SEC involvement asked during USCIS conference
This is Jordana Hart. I am an immigration attorney in Miami, Florida. I had sent this question in advance. You have not addressed it but I will ask it and if you choose to address it, that would be great. I want to know what is the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the adjudication of these cases? I've been told that they are involved in may be heavily involved and I was wondering if you could answer or discuss that issue.
In instances of securities fraud as you are aware, the SEC has purview and the SEC can subpoena records. The SEC -- we have memorandums of understanding does allow very limited examination under very limited circumstances of USCIS information in the event that securities fraud is saw. Securities fraud is very serious and we cooperate with the SEC as much as possible.
In the context of EB-5, the SEC is primarily focused on the issuers of securities (Regional Centers and/or developers) not the purchasers of them (EB-5 Investors). The SEC wants to make sure that the EB-5 market is free from fraud and has the necessary transparency for an efficient market, fair to investors. The SEC has broad powers to investigate fraud and can subpoena records, send interrogatories, compel testimony, and issue orders prohibiting the destruction of records.
The SEC has no role in the adjudication of USCIS petitions. The SEC and USCIS can and do share information when conducting investigations, but investigations are conducted for law enforcement purposes, not for petition examinations. A petition to USCIS can spawn an investigation by USCIS or the SEC, but probably more typically an investigation is commenced by the SEC based upon a complaint made to it about an immigrant investment scheme, and it may then request information from USCIS to further its evidentiary development.
To the best of my knowledge SEC is not involved in adjudication of EB-5 cases. That is the jurisdiction of USCIS. They are involved however with the security side of the EB-5 applications. They monitor cases to make sure that fraud is discouraged and when it unfortunately happens it is caught hopefully before the parties involved could have been afflicted by it.
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