The Obama Administration rolled out a record number of last minute regulatory changes that sought to stretch President Obama’s influence right into the Trump presidency. A large number of those regulations were stopped by President Trump through executive actions and Congress through the use of the Congressional Review Act that allows Congress to revoke regulations through a joint resolution if that rule has a large financial impact on the economy and is revoked within 60 days of implementation.
Phillip Bump of the Washington Post reported on December 15, 2017, on a long list of Obama regulations and executive actions put out in the last months of the Obama Administration that President Trump reversed. These included some big policy changes like reversing an Obama overtime pay rule, withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, reversed government’s position on voter ID law in Texas, blocked Obama’s Clean Power plan, reversed the ban on drilling in the Arctic, withdrew rule on fracking on public lands, repealed ban on lead bullets, delayed rules on automotive fuel efficiency standards, scheduled the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and rolled back school lunch standard championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama – just to name a few. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Obama regulations in his last year “cost American consumers and businesses $1.9 trillion in 2016.”
One costly regulation that should be abandoned is an Obama era regulation that would change the rules on the EB-5 investor program. The program enables individuals and their families to become eligible for conditional green cards with an investment of $500,000 in an approved project in the United States which must in turn create a minimum of ten jobs for each investor. A problem is that some in the Trump Administration want to support and push out this Obama last-minute regulation for implementation.
One of those Trump Administration staffers, Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, Chief of the Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), spoke at an Invest In The USA (IIUSA) conference on April 27, 2018 where, according to the IIUSA, she “reinforced her department’s position that they will try to get EB-5 regulatory reform done this year.” This regulation part of an anti-business regulatory blizzard in the last months of the Obama Administration intended to regulate the program in a way that deters foreign investment and job creation.
This is a program that has been in the crosshairs of liberals and a handful of Republicans who ignore the fact that this program has been successful in both urban and rural areas because these members oppose all programs that make it easier for immigrants to come to the United States. Influential House and Senate members have been active in opposition to the program and have been supportive of President Obama’s effort to sabotage the program.
EB-5 regional centers (IIUSA) have also supported the Obama idea, because they are back office paper processing and marking entities that earn fees for handling money for developers who don’t have the capital to go abroad to seek investors. They have a financial interest in this program being slowed to a crawl.
The regional centers, restrictionist Republicans and Kovarik are opposing an investor program that creates jobs for Americans and goes against President Trump’s vision of an expanding economy with more American jobs and investment coming from foreign nations to the U.S. This act by Kovarik’s office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, goes against the idea of the executive branch legislating by executive fiat. The DACA program was revoke by the Trump Administration because they argued that President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by ignoring the law. The same is happening with the EB-5 program where a handful of Trump Administration officials want to subvert the law by allowing an Obama era regulation go into effect.
According to Jacqueline Varas of the American Action Forum, the EB-5 program offers up to ten thousand visas to foreign investors to stimulate economic growth through capital investment and job creation. The results are about $20 billion in investments since 2008 and $5 billion in 2017. The Forum projected that this program has created over 174,000 American jobs. This is a great program and one that should be expanded, not sabotaged.