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For Release Immediate Release
July 31, 2018
Media Contact:
Ashley Casey
(202) 795-9664
[email protected]

IIUSA Supportive of Lawsuit Seeking EB-5 Visa Relief to Help Aged Out Children and Foster U.S. Job Creation

Association member and EB-5 investors file suit against U.S. government to help aged out children and find reasonable solution to visa backlog issue

WASHINGTON, DC – On July 25, 2018 a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the American Lending Center (an EB-5 regional center and a member of IIUSA) and EB-5 investors whose children have fallen victim to "aging out." The law suit seeks relief for their children who may not receive a U.S. visa due to the method that the Department of State ("DOS") uses to count visas. Instead of counting an entire family as one visa, DOS uses a visa for each person in the family. As a result the numbers of visa available for investors is approximately one-third of the 10,000 visas a year that are set-aside for such investors. As a result there is an extreme backlog, leaving investors and their families with an estimated 15 year wait to receive their EB-5 visa. Because of this lengthy retrogression, many children of investors "age out" and are ineligible to receive a U.S. visa as a derivative of their parent’s investment, despite being well within the age requirements upon filing the I-526 petition and making the investment.

IIUSA has long supported numerous equitable and reasonable efforts to relieve the visa backlog and retrogression. One of the leading solutions is for the EB-5 visa allocation to return to the original intent of the law which would allocate 10,000 visas for the actual investors, with spouses and children eligible to immigrate as derivatives of the investors themselves. The derivative visas, or visas issued to dependent spouses and children, would not count against the 10,000 visa per year limit. As the lawsuit states, this was the original intent of the EB-5 legislation.

American Lending Center, an EB-5 Regional Center and IIUSA member, joined the lawsuit due to their own damages suffered as a result of retrogression and counting derivatives against the 10,000 investor visa cap.

The lawsuit was filed by Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A., a Florida law firm. The firm is an IIUSA member with extensive experience in civil litigation and immigration law.

"We support the efforts of many groups and individuals who are working to provide relief to the crushing retrogression period which is harming innocent investors and the EB-5 industry as a whole. There are numerous short and long term solutions to return the EB-5 program to the original legislative intent and thereby provide visa relief to families currently mired in the visa backlog," said Robert Kraft, IIUSA President. He went on to say, "IIUSA strongly supports those efforts."

The visa backlog is having a devastating effect on the EB-5 program’s ability to create new U.S. jobs. Bill Gresser, IIUSA Vice President and President of EB-5 New York State Regional Center said, "The EB-5 immigrant investor program is a proven job-creating engine. The U.S. Department of Commerce in its 2017 study found that in just over a 2-year period, EB-5 investments created over 174,000 U.S. jobs and contributed nearly $6 billion into the American economy."

Additionally, a recent study conducted by IIUSA and the Western Washington University Center for Economic Business Research found that from FY2010-FY2017, over $16.5 billion in EB-5 capital was invested in the U.S. and created over 267,000 American jobs. The EB-5 program as a job-creation engine is at risk due to the visa backlog.

IIUSA therefore supports this lawsuit with the hope that it will deliver relief to the thousands of investor families and their children, and will help solve the debilitating problem which stymies EB-5 investment and the creation of new U.S. jobs, all at no cost to taxpayers.

More information on this suit can be found on IIUSA’s blog at www.iiusa.org/blog

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Founded in 2005, IIUSA is the national not-for-profit trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center industry with a mission of advocacy, education, industry development, and research. The organization represents more than 240 Regional Centers and 180 Associate members, collectively representing big and small projects, urban and rural economic development, and industry sectors ranging from real estate and manufacturing to energy and infrastructure. IIUSA’s members are engines of economic growth and job creation, accounting for a vast majority of capital flowing through the Program. Learn more at IIUSA.org

EB-5 Investors Lawsuit Asks US Government to Address Pressing Visa Backlog

The lead attorney is Ira Kurzban

Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A. files suit alleging U.S. government is discouraging foreign investment in American communities with restrictive visa policies harmful to international investors

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A group of more than 450 Chinese EB-5 investors are suing the U.S. government to challenge visa policies that keep investors waiting up to 15 years to come to the United States.

American Lending Center (ALC), one of America’s leading EB-5 regional centers, has joined the suit to support and stand with the international investor community as the first and only institutional plaintiff. Legal representation is being provided by Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A., a top Florida law firm with a record of aggressive advocacy and success in civil litigation and immigration law.

The lawsuit aims to substantially reduce the current EB-5 visa backlog facing investors and their families. Over the past several years, the wait time to become a U.S. resident has drastically increased, with some EB-5 investors delayed up to 15 years. During this time many children of investors "age out" of associated familial visas or green card eligibility as "derivatives" of their parents. If spouses and children of investors were not individually counted against the State Department’s annual visa quota, a greater number would be available and the backlog would be substantially reduced.

Ira Kurzban, lead attorney in the lawsuit, argues that "the U.S. government counts each child and each spouse in determining the numbers of immigrant investor visas each year. However, we believe that the EB-5 program for investors requires the government to only count investors when allocating the visas. The decision to count derivatives as part of the 10,000 visas means that only approximately 3,300 in fact go to investors. This is a loss for investors in China who must wait many, many years and it is a loss for the U.S. government because fewer people are investing in the U.S."

Bruce Thompson, ALC President and former Region IX Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, agreed: "EB-5 investment can provide impactful, sustainable economic benefits to American communities. It is unfortunate that due to legislative gridlock EB-5 reform seemingly must now go through the courts. ALC feels compelled to stand with the investor community and those disadvantaged through retrogression and annual visa limits. It is devastating to parents who have played by the rules and invested in the U.S. economy only to learn, in many cases years after making investments, that their children will be unable to join them in America."

An established innovator and industry leader, ALC received a record-breaking nine EB-5 project approvals in nine different cities for 30 newly approved investors in March of 2018 alone. The company is currently the largest non-bank SBA 504 lending institution, having successfully provided over 350 million dollars to American ventures and funded over 60 SBA 504 projects with parent company RCH.

Leaders across the industry are heralding the lawsuit. Joseph McCarthy, President of American Dream Fund, joined by fellow co-founding organizers of the EB-5 Visa Relief Group, Bill Gresser, President of EB-5 New York State, and Carolyn Lee, Partner at Miller Mayer, LLP, support the action. "We support short and long term solutions to return to the original intent of the program of 10,000 investors, which would offer visa relief to families currently mired in the backlog," McCarthy stated. "These delays needlessly jeopardize the immigration status of dependent children, who would "age out" of green card eligibility because the correct visa numbers are not being applied. Not only would existing applicant families be protected, but EB-5 visa reform would also result in billions of dollars of additional investment into local U.S. economies and tens of thousands of new American jobs. In short, we stand for the full realization of the EB-5 program’s job creation potential."

About American Lending Center

Sustainable success through integrity, transparency, and accountability.

American Lending Center (ALC) is a U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service designated regional center held by Regional Centers Holding Group. ALC offers investment opportunities to immigrant investors interested in obtaining permanent resident status in the United States through the employment-based fifth preference visa (EB-5) program. ALC has completed funding projects in 19 states and is committed to fulfilling the program’s promise of investment in businesses in rural and underserved communities.

Contacts

For questions specific to the lawsuit:
Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A.
Ira Kurzban
Attorney At Law
305-992-3356
[email protected]
or
For interviews and media inquiries:
American Lending Center
Dana Doran
202-207-3650
[email protected]

Jed Kurzban The Difference Maker

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?

Kurzban: I first wanted to become an attorney when I watched my father, a plaintiffs’ attorney go to trial when I was only 12 or 13. He made a brilliant argument as to why his clients deserved justice and how no jury should accept the injustice proffered or the minute value the defendants were placing on the plaintiff ’s injuries. The plaintiff was an ironworker who had his foot crushed by a crane ball that was dropped 50 feet. The defendants admitted liability midtrial and my father ended his closing argument by telling the jury not to accept the pennies that the defendants claimed the case was worth, and threw a handful of pennies into the air. I saw the pennies glimmer and catch the light in their coppery magnificence before they hit the ground. The judge yelled at my father. It was that moment I knew I was hooked and wanted to be a trial attorney, but to this day, I have yet to throw pennies in the air.

Read more

CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT FILED BY LUIS DIAZ-MARTINEZ FOR 26 YEARS OF ILLEGAL INCARCERATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Wednesday March 21, 2007 a Complaint will be filed by Luis Diaz-Martinez, the man who was wrongfully accused, prosecuted, and convicted for a series of rapes which occurred during the late 1970s. At the time, these rapes were attributed to one individual that came to be known by the media and the public at large as "THE BIRD ROAD RAPIST."

Mr. Luis Diaz-Martinez, a native Cuban, came to the United States seeking freedom and justice. He found neither. Instead he lost more than two and a half decades of his life to a wrongful conviction for assaults and rapes he did not commit. Mr. Diaz-Martinez has always maintained his innocence however he remained wrongfully incarcerated for more than twenty six years. It was not until a combination of recanted testimony, and DNA evidence came to light which conclusively exonerated Mr. Diaz-Martinez that he was finally released.

This lawsuit is being filed to restore the civil rights which were stolen from Mr. Diaz-Martinez by Miami-Dade County, and the police officers who engaged in a campaign of evidence fabrication that ensured Mr. Diaz-Martinez was convicted for crimes he did not commit. The details and extent of the county's and individual police officers intentional misdeeds are well documented and constitute a perversion of our criminal justice system.

MR. DIAZ-MARTINEZ WILL BE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE WITH HIS LAWYERS, SENIOR PARTNER AT KURZBAN KURZBAN WEINGER & TETZELI, P.A. & BARRY SCHECK, OF THE INNOCENCE PROJECT. THE PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD AT THE OFFICES OF KURZBAN KURZBAN WEINGER & TETZELI, P.A. AT 2650 S.W. 27TH AVENUE, 2nd Floor, MIAMI, FLORIDA 33133 ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 21, 2007 AT 1:00PM

By ERIC RIEDER
Herald Staff Writer

A Dade Circuit Court jury has convicted former trustees of Miami's Ironworkers Union of fraud and ordered them to pay nearly $1.2 million to their union's severance-pay fund.

Jurors returned the verdicts in a civil suit brought by current officials of the union against their predecessors and former union insurance consultant Louis Ostrer.

The jury decision marks the culmination of a seven-year effort by union officials to get back money they charged had been squandered, much of it on excessive payments to Ostrer.

"We've now recovered every quarter these trustees illegally spent," said lawyer Steve Weinger represented the current trustees of ironworkers Local 272.

The verdicts, returned Saturday night after a two-week trial before Judge Lenore Nesbitt, were filed in court Monday.

Defendants in the suit included seven former trustees of the severance-pay fund and Ostrer, their consultant. All except former trustee John Nord, who was cleared, were found guilty of both fraud and negligence.

In addition to returning the bilked money to the severance-pay fund, the total award of $1,195,000 includes $110,000 in punitive damages.

The key figure in the lawsuit was Ostrer, who is in federal prison in Danbury, Conn., and did not appear at the trial. Ostrer was insurance consultant to the fund from 1972 through 1974.

During that time, the plaintiffs charged, the severance-pay fund overpaid for life insurance policies from an agency controlled by Ostrer's sister.

Ostrer remained as adviser to the fund, jointly administered by representatives of labor and management, even after trustees learned he had been convicted of grand larceny in New York.

Trustees found guilty of fraud and negligence by the jury, along with Ostrer, are Michael Burke, Michael Famigliatti, Thomas Kilgellon, Eugene Bowen, Martin Bessell and Charles Baker.

By JAY DUCASSI
Herald Staff Writer

A Miami jury came back with a $7.2 million award in a malpractice case Thursday -- but the victim's family will only get the $3.3 million it settle for while the jurors were out deliberation.

The award, the largest malpractice verdict in Dade County history according to lawyers, goes to the parents of Rene Hernandez, a 24-year-old man who suffered brain damage during a leg operation 17 months ago.

"They just couldn't afford to wait" Kurzban said. "They have a son that needs help. They have no way to pay off the bills. They needed money today.

"I'm sure we would have faced years of appeal. I had to let the parents make the decision. I can't gamble with a child's future."

Insurance payments for Hernandez' treatment stopped Dec. 31, the father said, and the family has no money to pay for the round-the-clock care that his son needs. Kurzban said nursing bills since January have run about $25,000 a month.

On Oct 11, 1982, young Hernandez underwent an operation to remove dead tissue from one of his legs, injured when he had been hit by a car on a Fort Lauderdale street three months earlier.

According to court records, his blood pressure dropped suddenly, then his heart stopped. Kurzban argues that Hernandez was given too much anesthesia, and that doctors then delayed in giving emergency treatment. Mercy Hospital disputes both claims.

"He was in the best place in the world to be if he had a respiratory or circulatory failure, and he came out brain-damaged," Kurzban said.

Kurzban told the jury the delay occurred when anesthesiologist John Gomez assumed Hernandez' blood-pressure monitoring machine was malfunctioning, and waited for another one to be brought into surgery before beginning emergency treatment.

"While they were getting that machine, his brain is dying," Kurzban said.

By the time a Second anesthesiologist began to give Hernandez cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, his brain had gone without oxygen for several minutes, Kurzban said.

The family sued the hospital, Gomez and the two surgeons who were operating on Hernandez when his heart stopped, John Nordt and Leonard Roudner.

During the seven hours the jury deliberated, the family settled with Gornez for $l million. Later, just an hour before the verdict was announced, they settled with the hospital for $2.3 million. The family did not reach an agreement with the two surgeons.

The jury, unaware of the settlements, returned with a verdict that held Gomez liable for the damages. It also decided that he acted as an "agent" of the hospital, making Mercy liable as well.

The two surgeons were cleared.

Had they been found liable, they would have had to pay the rest of the $7.2 million not covered by the $3.3 million settlement, according to Acting Circuit Judge Milton Friedman, who tried the case.

Miami lawyer Stuart Grossman, who has won several million-dollar-plus malpractice cases, said he believes the $7.2 million is the largest jury award in a Dad malpractice case.

"Offhand I can't think of any larger in Dade County," agreed Stephen F. Rossman, a former president of the Dade County Trail Lawyers Association and a malpractice specialist.

In the largest malpractice award ever in Florida, a Broward County jury awarded $12.47 million to the family of Susan Ann Von Stetina in March 1982. She was left comatose after a respirator malfunctioned in the Florida Medical Center in Lauderdale Lakes.

The attorneys for the two surgeons will ask to be paid out of the settlement since state law requires losing parties to pay their opponent's legal costs. Roudner's lawyer Miles McGrane estimated the fee for him and Nordt's attorney will run about $100,000 each.

Kurzban's fees will be determined by a probate judge, and will come out of the $3.3 million, said his partner Steven M. Weinger.

Rene Hernandez Sr. said the family is satisfied with the settlement and was not upset that the jury came back with an award larger than the settlement.

He said his son remains essentially in a "vegetative" state. He lives at home with 24-hour nursing care and two hours of daily physical therapy.

"He recognizes me when I go near him," said his father. "But the only thing he can say is 'Mama' and make noises."

Doctors who testified in the trial said Hernandez, a former loan officer at Biscayne Federal Savings and Loan who wrote poems to his girlfriend, has very little chance of recovering.

Nevertheless, his parents say they try to "reactivate" his sensing during a daily 12-hour program designed by the International Coma Recovery Institute in New York. The program includes making Hernandez smell strong-scented substances such as tobacco, vanilla, ammonia and perfume.

"I don't feel total justice was done," said Kurzban, who added that he regretted the jury had not found the Two surgeons liable also. "But I think the parents did the right thing to protect their child."

Writer unknown
Herald Staff Writer

A Dade County jury on Monday awarded $3.6 million to the family of an Orlando man who was killed when a Department of Transportation truck ran him over outside a South Dade automobile dealership in1989.

The case involved the death of insurance agent Edward Boyle, who was run over by a 2-ton DOT truck as he stood outside Dadeland Dodge on the South Dixie Highway.

Because of the state's sovereign immunity law, the judgment may ultimately be cut back to $200,000.

The law places a cap of $100,000 on the judgment if there is a single survivor 3 and $200,000 if there were multiple survivors. Boyle was survived by a wife and two children. Any payment above those guidelines requires legislative approval.

"The cap is so low and there's such little chance of success that state agencies basically have no accountability," the lawyer for Boyle's family.

Kurzban, unhappy the state was unwilling to settle out of court, said that he plans to ask the Legislature to approve the full $3.6 million judgment.

"After a year, they proceeded to admit liability," Kurzban said. "Then they went to trial for damages. There was no need for them to spend all that money, and put the family through the expense and aggravation."

By JOHN H. CUSHMAN Jr.
Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 — To the dismay of Haiti's exiled President, the Clinton Administration insisted that American forces would not act as Haiti's police, despite the military leaders' repressive tactics against pro-democracy demonstrators.

The last-minute accord negotiated by Jimmy Carter, which left the Haitian military in place for the time being, forced the Pentagon to rewrite its mission and put American troops in the odd position of cooperating with the very Haitian forces they bad been planning to fight

The exiled President, the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, told the White House today that the United States should disarm Haitian forces, who are endangering his supporters and American troops, Father Aristide's aides said.

Mr. Aristide's general counsel, Ira Kurzban, said there was a risk that "we in the United States become and occupying army supporting the Haitian military, rather than a multinational force designed to assist in creating democracy."

The violence on the streets and diplomatic wrangling between Father Aristide and the White House show the fragility of the arrangements in Haiti and the continuing risks even as American troops continue to pour ashore unopposed.

Despite the increasing concern over the possible repercussions, President Clinton said today that he was pleased with the way things were going.

"This is a very different and much better day than it would have been had we not been able to successfully combine the credible threat of force with diplomacy," he said in introducing a White House briefing. "Our troops are working with full cooperation with the Haitian military. We should recognize that we are in a much stronger and safer position to achieve our goals in Haiti today."

In the face of brutal crowd-control tactics by Haitian police officers, Pentagon officials said that under the accord they had no choice but to tolerate such behavior, at least until they could co-opt the officers, paying some to stay on the job and paying others to turn in their weapons.

"The task of keeping law and order in Haiti is the responsibility of the Haitian police force and the Haitian military," Gen. John M. D. Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the briefing.

"We are not in a business of doing day-to-day law and order, for that matter resolving or quelling any demonstrations, unless these demonstrations or this level of violence becomes so great that it threatens overall stability and the security of our multinational forces, and then we will intercede.

Dee Dee Myers, the White Mouse spokeswoman, said today; "Nobody in this Government is comfortable with demonstrations that turn violent or nasty. But we cannot solve every problem in Haiti overnight. We are going down there not as a police force, but to guarantee civic order and guard against threats to the constitutional Government.

At the Pentagon, a senior officer expressed concern that the Administration might give in to political pressures to take on police duties.

"The only institution in Haiti that works is the military," the officer said in briefing reporters. "Essentially civil order has always been maintained by a system of intimidation, and clearly the only way it was, is, you thumped people."

In separate comments, a senior White House official said aides to Mr. Clinton were urgently seeking ways to cope with a sense that there were no good answers.

"If the mission bleeds into policing, people say you've gone beyond your mandate," the official said.

"But if you stand back and watch they say how can you do that?"

Government officials said today that during the negotiations over the weekend, President Clinton decided that the danger of a power vacuum made it preferable that Lieut. Gene. Raoul Cedras and his Army chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Philippe Biamby, stay on for a short period rather than step down immediately, as Mr. Clinton had demanded.

American generals, lest their cooperation with Haitian police be viewed as collaboration, are taking pains to describe the relationship as "cooperation from a position of strength." And they justify the cooperation by pointing out that it has enabled them to increase their force quickly without suffering or causing casualties.

American forces had been prepared for two options: Either they would forcibly eject Haiti's military leaders or the junta would agree to leave and the Americans would quickly turn over police functions to international troops.

But those plans were changed hours before the troops began to land. That left the Pentagon struggling with the question of whether the troops would be viewed as allies of repressive regime, and not Father Aristide. Intervening on the side of demonstrators might please the pro-Aristide side but it would alienate the Haitian police.

The American military is not supposed to intervene in the kind of street battles that occurred Monday and today in Port-au-Prince unless they are directly threatened or unless "essential civil order" is disrupted, according to the Pentagon.

As Pentagon leaders described it, their mission is not to protect Haitians from a repressive regime, but to help stabilize the country to permit the elected Government to retake power in the next few weeks -- and to do so with the full cooperation of the very forces that seized power after the Sept. 30, 1991, coup.

Under the new orders, only a select group of pro-Aristide Haitians — mostly prominent people like Robert Malval, the former pro-Aristide Prime Minister — are supposed to be protected.

Lieut. Gen. John J. Sheehan, director of operations at the Pentagon, said in an interview today that the rules governing the use of force were changed just before the occupation began on Monday, after commanders reviewed the agreement negotiated by the delegation led by Mr. Carter.

Once it became clear that the junta would not depart immediately, the mission had to be redrawn to reflect the temporary compact with the Haitian military.

"It was the cooperation words that we had reinterpret," said General Sheehan. The new rules were approved by Defense Secretary William J. Perry, he said.

General Sheehan conceded that agreement was "vague in terms of specificity." But he said Gen. Colin L. Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who worked with Mr. Carter in Haiti, had advised the Pentagon to "get on the ground" first, saying "don't worry about the details."

But Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said today, "The fact is the President has impossibly complicated the situation" by permitting General Cedras to remain.

Still, some Pentagon officials seemed to shrug off the behavior of the Haitian police.

"The normal idea of Haitian policemen of getting a crowd's attention was to fire two rounds in the air," said one senior Pentagon official at a briefing on Monday, described one confrontation when a crowd surged out of control. "So, I mean, this is not directed activity; this is just a Haitian policeman responding as he was trained."

But General Shalikashvili and General Sheehan both cautioned that from the very outset, violence among Haitians had been viewed as the most likely danger.

"Nothing that we have seen so far removes my concern about that," said General Shalikashvili, "because these are the sort of explosive situations that can come up at any given moment, and our soldiers have to be prepared for it physically and mentally, we have to have given them the rules of engagement to handle themselves in these kind of situations."