Jay Peak receiver sues USCIS over 'green card' failure

-A A +A

Jay Peak receiver sues USCIS over 'green card' failure

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 6:50am -- tim

The Pump House indoor water park has been one of the most popular amenities added to Jay Peak Resort as a result of EB-5 immigrant investor money. Jay Peak photo.

Vermont Business Magazine The Jay Peak Receiver filed suit in federal court in Florida November 15 saying the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have dragged their feet in awarding permanent "green cards" and resident status to EB-5 immigrant investors who have completed the necessary process of achieving the designations, thus doing them financial harm. Goldberg cannot find a reason for the delays. USCIS has plenty of money to complete the process. The fees are relatively high and the accounts are flush.

Near the end of his filing he notes that language supporting immigration has been stricken from the USCIS mission statement. He then asks the court to compel USCIS to act within 30 days.

The action arises from USCIS’s failure, Goldberg said, to adjudicate the I-829 petitions of approximately 74 plaintiffs who each invested $500,000 into one of five Limited Partnerships associated with the Jay Peak or Q Burke resorts in Vermont in the hopes of obtaining lawful permanent resident status in the US for themselves, their spouses, and their children.

The investments were part of the larger Jay Peak series of EB-5 projects owned and operated by Ariel Quiros (among others), who is the subject of an SEC action alleging that he misused and/or misappropriated investor funds and defrauded several hundred EB-5 investors who invested in numerous Limited Partnerships.

Through the efforts of the Receiver (including the recovery of substantial sums of money) the Jay Peak and Q Burke projects were able to be funded with the proceeds of the investor plaintiffs’ investments and have, to a large extent, been completed and have created the jobs necessary to support the investor plaintiffs’ green card petitions.

The investor plaintiffs have met the requirements for having their I-829 petitions approved. However, USCIS has failed to adjudicate their petitions after-- in some cases -- many years.

Goldberg, who was appointed receiver April 22, 2016, said plaintiffs have suffered harm as a result of the delay, and now seek an order from the Court compelling USCIS to adjudicate their petitions.

This does not include all immigrant investors, of which there are more than 400. They also contributed upwards of $50,000 in fees beyond their half-million dollar investment. Many of the rest of the investors have received their unconditional green cards and some have also received at least some of their original investment back.

Others, particularly at Burke, are still waiting for the EB-5 job growth requirements to be met. Still others who invested in the never-built Anc Bio plant in Newport have had their petitions transferred, if they so desired, to a completely separate project in New York City. A few have simply requested their money back.

Goldberg noted that plaintiffs have exhausted their administrative remedies. Plaintiffs have made inquiries with defendants concerning the status of their petitions, all to no avail. No other administrative remedy is available to plaintiffs.

The Golf and Mountain Plaintiffs are 14 foreign investors who invested $500,000 into Golf and Mountain and obtained conditional green cards through the EB-5 program as a result of their investments. The Golf and Mountain Plaintiffs have all filed I-829 petitions to remove the conditions on their green cards with Defendants, and the adjudication of these petitions has been unreasonably delayed.

The Stateside Plaintiffs are 30 foreign investors who invested $500,000 into Stateside and obtained conditional green cards through the EB-5 program as a result of their investments. The Stateside Plaintiffs have all filed I-829 petitions to remove the conditions on their green cards with Defendants, and the adjudication of these petitions has been unreasonably delayed.

The Lodge and Townhouse Plaintiffs are 20 foreign investors who invested $500,000 into Lodge and Townhouse and obtained conditional green cards through the EB-5 program as a result of their investments. The Lodge and Townhouse Plaintiffs have all filed I-829 petitions to remove the conditions on their green cards with Defendants, and the adjudication of these petitions has been unreasonably delayed.

The Penthouse Suites Plaintiffs are approximately 4 foreign investors who invested $500,000 into Penthouse Suites and obtained conditional green cards through the EB-5 program as a result of their investments. The Penthouse Suites Plaintiffs have all filed I-829 petitions to remove the conditions on their green cards with Defendants, and the adjudication of these petitions has been unreasonably delayed.

The Burke Plaintiffs are six (6) foreign investors who invested $500,000 into Burke and obtained conditional green cards through the EB-5 program as a result of their investments. The Burke Plaintiffs have all filed I-829 petitions to remove the conditions on their green cards with Defendants, and the adjudication of these petitions has been unreasonably delayed.

Goldberg has been trying to sell the resorts and now hopes to do so in 2020. This is likely to include only the assets located at Jay Peak, because the Burke Mountain investments have not fully achieved the EB-5 employment requirements. Goldberg has reported that Jay Peak is profitable. He has not set an asking price.

Vail, which has recently bought both Stowe Mountain Resort and Okemo, apparently is not a player. Alterra, which recently bought Sugarbush and Stratton, is thought to be a more likely candidate. Those resort companies are rivals based in Colorado.

Goldberg admits to a dilemma as the cash available is spent on running the resorts:With every decision, the Receiver must balance the immigration and financial interests of the investors. This includes whether to spend money, sell all or part of the resorts, and close or operate part or all of the resorts.

The continued investment in the resorts is likely to decrease the amount of money available to repay investors at a later date. If USCIS is ultimately going to deny the petitions, spending millions of dollars to protect the Plaintiffs’ immigration interests is futile and wasteful.”

BACKGROUND ON THE EB-5 PROGRAM

In 1990, Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, allocating, inter alia, 10,000 immigrant visas per year to foreign nationals seeking Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) status on the basis of their capital investments in the United States. Pursuant to the so-called “Immigrant Investor Program,” foreign nationals may be eligible for an employment-based, fifth preference (“EB-5”) immigrant visa if they have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, $1 million (or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area) in a qualifying New Commercial Enterprise (“NCE”), and that investment results in the creation of at least ten jobs for U.S. Workers. The EB-5 regulations further provide that, in order to qualify as an “investment” in the EB-5 Program, foreign nationals must actually place their capital “at risk” for the purpose of generating a return, and that the mere intent to invest is not sufficient. The purpose of this program was to promote foreign direct investment into, and job creation within, the US.

In 1993, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program through the enactment of various provisions of section 610 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Act. The Pilot Program allows foreign investors who invest in NCEs affiliated with USCIS (formerly INS) designated regional centers to meet the 10-jobs-per investor by counting indirect jobs- i.e. jobs that created outside of the NCE. Further, in addition to not being restricted to only counting employees of the NCE, investors under the Pilot Program are allowed to use any valid statistical forecasting model to demonstrate job creation. The intent of these reforms was, again, to incentivize and promote foreign investment into, and job creation within, the U.S.

Regional center investment projects typically use an economic model, such as the RIMS II Input/Output model, a U.S. government created model, for predicting the job creation resulting from EB-5 investment into a given project. Input/Output models are based on multipliers derived from vast amounts of government data. For every unit of input, the multiplier is applied to derive a number of units of output. For instance, most common in the EB-5 program is the use or construction expenditures as an input. For every $1 million of construction expenditures, X number of jobs are created (the multiplier varies by region, but typically there are 10-12 jobs per $1 million of construction expenditures). The ability to count indirect jobs and use an economic model allows EB-5 funds to be used for types of development projects that would not ordinarily qualify under the non-regional center program due to its requirement of counting only employees of the NCE. Another result of the Pilot Program is that regional centers can aggregate investments from a large number of EB-5 investors in order to finance larger scale projects.

In order to become an LPR through both the standard and regional center-model program, a foreign national must initially file with USCIS a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, which, if approved, makes the foreign national eligible to receive an employment-based, fifth preference immigrant visa. Upon approval of the I-526 Petition, the foreign national must file a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status (if he or she is located in the United States), or a Form DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (if he or she is located outside the United States). Upon adjustment of status or admission on an EB-5 immigrant visa, the foreign national is granted two-years of conditional permanent resident status, provided that the foreign national is not otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States. Finally, at the conclusion of the two-year conditional period, the foreign national must file a Form I-829, Petition to Remove the Conditions on his or her LPR status. If the foreign national has fulfilled the EB-5 requirements- i.e. has invested, maintained the investment at risk, and the investment has resulted in the creation of at least ten jobs for U.S workers- then the conditions will be removed and the foreign national will be an unconditional LPR.

An EB-5 investor must maintain his or her investment at risk until the end of the two-year conditional residence period. This period does not begin to run until the investor enters the U.S. with an EB-5 visa or is granted an Adjustment of Status by USCIS while in the U.S.

According to Goldberg’s filing, common harm done to investors , once the two-year conditional green card expires include: requirements to keep getting residency papers at a USCIS office, even though some offices have cut back staff and hours, inability to open a bank account, inability to travel out of the country, difficulty getting employment and reluctance of potential business partners to make deals. They also live in general uncertainty whether they will ever get permanent status.

Most of the plaintiffs came from China and Vietnam, India, Central and South America and Russia.

Golf and Mountain

Golf and Mountain was formed to raise $45 million from 90 EB-5 investors to fund the construction of Golf cottage duplexes, a wedding chapel, and other facilities. Construction is complete and the Golf and Mountain Project is operating. Based on the information submitted with investors’ I-829 petitions, the investment in Golf and Mountain resulted in the creation of approximately 950 jobs for U.S. workers.

At least sixty-nine (69) investors in Golf and Mountain have filed I-829 petitions and had them approved by Defendants.

For instance, Plaintiff Igor Ivanovich Obraztsov, a native of Russia, is currently residing at 30134 Avenida Celestial, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Plaintiff’s two-year period of conditional residence commenced on December 9, 2014 and concluded on December 9, 2016. Plaintiff filed a Form I-829 petition on September 26, 2016 based on an investment in Jay Peak Golf and Mountain Suites L.P., WAC1636200456. The Form I-829 Petition remains pending over three (3) years later.

Plaintiff has been greatly damaged by the failure of Defendants to act in accordance with their duties under the law and adjudicate their applications:

a. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff’s investment funds remain at risk, with no indication of whether Plaintiff will be able to obtain the immigration benefit that motivated the investment.

b. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff faces ongoing uncertainty about the future, which hinders Plaintiff’s ability to make a long-term investment in the U.S. and deprives Plaintiff of the peace of mind of knowing where Plaintiff’s future will be.

c. Plaintiff has been unable to further Plaintiff’s business interest as Plaintiff’s future in this country is unknown. Plaintiff cannot obtain business loans from banks and has difficulty entering into contracts as the other party is wary of Plaintiff’s future presence in the country.

And another example, plaintiff Dong Thuy Nguyen, a native of Vietnam, is currently residing at 14831 Acorn Street, Chino Hills, CA 91709. Plaintiff filed a Form I-526 Petition on September 13, 2011.

Plaintiff’s two-year period of conditional residence commenced on August 29, 2013 and concluded on August 29, 2015. Plaintiff filed a Form I-829 petition on July 22, 2015 based on an investment in Jay Peak Golf and Mountain Suites L.P., WAC1529500095. The Form I-829 Petition remains pending over four (4) years later. Plaintiff has been greatly damaged by the failure of Defendants to act in accordance with their duties under the law and adjudicate their applications:

a. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff’s investment funds remain at risk, with no indication of whether Plaintiff will be able to obtain the immigration benefit that motivated the investment.

b. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff faces ongoing uncertainty about the future, which hinders Plaintiff’s ability to make career, family, and life choices, and deprives Plaintiff of the peace of mind of knowing where Plaintiff’s future will be. This is exacerbated by the fact that Plaintiff faces repeated questions and must constantly explain and prove Plaintiff’s legal status in the U.S., causing stress and humiliation.

c. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff faces delays, questioning and uncertainty each time Plaintiff travels regarding Plaintiff’s immigration status, which discourages Plaintiff from traveling for business, pleasure or to see family.

d. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff must now repeatedly go to a local USCIS field office to receive documentation as to the Plaintiff’s status for travel, employment, identification, and other purposes in the form of an I-551 stamp. This is exacerbated by recent government shutdowns and the lack of available InfoPass appointments at local USCIS field offices, which are necessary in order to obtain the I-551 stamp.

e. Plaintiff has been damaged in that Plaintiff’s ability to seek naturalization to U.S. citizenship is delayed because Defendants will not approve an N-400, Application for Naturalization, until the conditions have been removed, although Plaintiff has already been a Lawful Permanent Resident for more than five (5) years.  

Stateside

Stateside raised $67 million from 134 EB-5 investors to fund the construction of the Stateside Hotel component of the Jay Peak Resort. As of 2017, it is estimated that the investment in Stateside has resulted in the creation of approximately 1,361 jobs for U.S. workers. The Stateside Hotel project, a component of the greater Jay Peak Resort, was to include the construction of: (i) an eighty-five (85) guest-suite hotel (the “Stateside Hotel”); (ii) eighty-four (84) vacation rental cottages (the “Stateside Cottages”), (iii) a Medical Center; and (iv) a guest recreational center. Construction of the Stateside Hotel commenced in the fall of 2012 with planning, engineering, design and permitting. The Stateside Hotel opened on December 20, 2013, and includes a full-service restaurant, guest lockers, laundry, hot tubs, and patio-deck. The Stateside Hotel is situated directly at the base of the Jay Peak mountain and within short walking/ski distance to the base of four ski lifts to serve all ability levels of skiers and riders. The Stateside Cottages residential project is comprised of five 12-unit townhouse style buildings (60 units) and eight 3-unit cottage style buildings (24 units). The architectural style of these buildings is in the same theme as other recent residential projects at Jay Peak. The units are a mix of one- and two-bedroom suites averaging a comfortable 1,068 square feet per unit. Site clearing commenced in the fourth quarter of 2015 and infrastructure and earthwork in April 2015. After taking over the Project, the Receiver invested an additional $19,687,000 to complete construction of the Stateside Project, which has now created sufficient jobs for all of its investors to receive permanent green cards. USCIS has approved a number of I-829 petitions for investors in Stateside, but began issuing Notices of Intent to Deny a number of them in 2017 based on its concerns that enough jobs had not been created. A response to the NOID was provided to USCIS with updated information showing that at least 1,361 jobs have or will be created by the Stateside Project, which is more than enough for the 134 investors. At least thirty-two (32) investors in Stateside have filed I-829 petitions and had them approved by Defendants.

Lodge and Townhouses

Lodge and Townhouses was formed to raise $45 million from 90 EB-5 investors to fund the construction of 30 vacation rental townhouses, 90 vacation rental cottages, a café, and a parking garage. Construction is complete and the facilities are operating.

Based on the I-526 Job Impact Report submitted with investors’ I-526 petitions, Lodge and Townhouses was forecast to create a total of 2,898 jobs for U.S. workers.

At least thirty-one (31) investors in Lodge and Townhouses have filed I-829 petitions and had them approved by Defendants.

Penthouse Suites

Penthouse Suites was formed to raise $32.5 million from 65 EB-5 investors to fund the construction of a 55-unit penthouse suites hotel and an activities center, including a bar and restaurant. Construction is complete and the facilities are operating.

Based on the information submitted with investors’ I-829 petitions, the investment in Penthouse Suites resulted in the creation of approximately 700 jobs for U.S. workers.

At least fifty-none (59) investors in Penthouse Suites have filed I-829 petitions and had them approved by Defendants.

Burke

Burke raised $60.5 million from 121 EB-5 investors to fund the construction of a hotel and conference center at Burke Mountain, a nearby ski resort also owned by Quiros. The hotel and conference center have been completed, as well as the construction of a new ski lift and improved snowmaking capacity.

Through 2016, the investment in Burke created approximately 836 jobs for U.S. workers with additional jobs still being created.

Approximately ten (10), investors in Burke have filed I-829 petitions and none of the I-829 petitions has been adjudicated by USCIS.

The Receivership

The Court appointed a Receiver over the LPs and other Jay Peak assets on April 13, 2016 and April 19, 2019.

The Receiver is charged with the management of the Jay Peak and Burke resorts, the recovery and preservation of assets for the benefit of the investors and other creditors. Importantly, because the investors all invested through the EB-5 program, the Receiver has spent substantial time, effort, and money to provide the investors with the best chance possible to obtain their green cards. As a result of the protracted and unanticipated adjudication period, the Receiver has had to balance his obligation to serve the economic interest of the Receivership and the resorts with the need to help, or at least not frustrate, investors’ goals of a obtaining a green card. Had Plaintiffs been able to complete their immigration processes in a timely fashion, the Receivership would not have had this additional consideration and obligation.

When the Receiver took over operation of the Jay Peak and Burke resorts, the Jay Peak resort required additional capital to complete all of the construction that had been contemplated and the Burke resort was not yet fully operational. Absent the need to consider the Plaintiff’s immigration goals, the Receiver would have elected to sell the Burke resort rather than engage in operation and improvements.

Undertaking the operation and improvement of the Burke resort and the JayPeak resort has taxed the time and financial resources of the Receivership. The Receiver has had to use resources to pay immigration counsel, economists and other professionals in order to prepare templates for Plaintiffs to file petitions and respond to RFEs and NOIDs, and has expended millions of dollars making improvements to both resorts in order to satisfy the EB-5 job creation requirements on behalf of the investors.

As the Court is aware, the Receiver negotiated a settlement with Raymond James.

A substantial portion of the Raymond James recovery was utilized for contractor liens and to pay off certain aspects of the hotel paving the way for Plaintiffs to satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 program. Had the Plaintiffs’ immigration status not been uncertain as a result of the delay in adjudication coupled with the Defendants’ silence even as the Receiver publicly disclosed his intent to use the proceeds of the settlements to satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 program, the Receiver would not have funneled the proceeds of the Raymond James settlement back into the resorts but would have instead repaid the investors. The decision to continue to fund projects at the resorts, rather than selling the resort, was solely driven by the uncertainly faced by the Plaintiffs as to their immigration goals and the desire to protect their immigration process. 

During the initial months of the Receivership, USCIS had continued to adjudicate petitions, issuing RFEs, NOIDs, or approvals, but no denials, leading the Receiver to believe the continued operation of the resort was a rational decision as the investors would be moved through the immigration process successfully.

Over the course of 2017, adjudications of petitions for the Plaintiffs and other Jay Peak investors slowed to a trickle or stopped completely.

In July of 2018, after adjudications had severely slowed or stopped, USCIS terminated the Vermont Regional Center. The Vermont Regional Center appealed the termination to the Administrative Appeals Office at USCIS (“AAO”). On September 25, 2019, the AAO dismissed the Vermont Regional Center’s Appeal, lending further uncertainty to Plaintiffs’ immigration journeys.

Defendants monitored the Receiver’s website and were aware of the development of the resorts and the expenditure of funds at the Jay Peak project and yet continued to stonewall the adjudication process and proceeded to terminate the Vermont Regional Center.

Had Defendants adjudicated all of, or a majority of, Plaintiffs’ petitions, in any fashion, or simply continued to consistently issue decisions on the pending petitions, the Receiver could have made informed decisions on how best to handle the estate instead of remaining in a holding pattern to see how Defendants would proceed.

With every decision, the Receiver must balance the immigration and financial interests of the investors. This includes whether to spend money, sell all or part of the resorts, and close or operate part or all of the resorts. The continued investment in the resorts is likely to decrease the amount of money available to repay investors at a later date. If USCIS is ultimately going to deny the petitions, spending millions of dollars to protect the Plaintiffs’ immigration interests is futile and wasteful.

Plaintiffs have made multiple inquiries with Defendant USCIS about the status of their petitions, but have received only form responses from USCIS, with no meaningful or case specific information.

The intent of the EB-5 program is for investors to make an at-risk investment for approximately 4 or 5 years after which they could have their investments returned, with any profits on their investments. Defendants’ delays in adjudications have resulted in plaintiffs not being able to obtain a return of their investments for 6 to 10 years, or more. As a result, plaintiffs have lost the ability to access their money for an unreasonable period of time and a period of time not contemplated by either Congress or the administrative agency in its regulations. In addition, the longer the investments are outstanding, the greater the risk of loss of the investment or change in the investment.

The investor Plaintiffs all face harms arising from the uncertainty of their immigration status, which are exacerbated and prolonged by the ongoing delays in adjudicating their I-829 petitions.

The delays in adjudication of the I-829 petitions also prejudice the immigration interests of the investors in various ways. Defendant USCIS has vacillated in its position regarding whether the I-829 petitions are subject to denial in the event that the investment does not meet USCIS standards for being sustained “at risk” for the entire period the I-829 is pending. At times, USCIS has stated this to be a requirement; at other times, it has stated the contrary.

USCIS has a history of reversing its policy positions without notice or warning in the EB-5 program, resulting in petitions that were approvable for years suddenly becoming unapprovable. The longer the petitions remain pending, the greater the risk that the investors will suffer from unanticipated changes in Defendants’ policy and administration of the program.

By regulation, USCIS is required to adjudicate plaintiffs’ I-829 petitions within 90 days pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 216.6 (c).

Defendants’ failure to follow this regulatory requirement, and to delay adjudications, not just beyond 90 days but for many years, severely prejudices both the financial interests and the immigration interests of the plaintiffs.

In addition, Plaintiffs are eligible to file for naturalization to become U.S. citizens 4 years and 9 months after obtaining conditional permanent residence, but they can only do so if the I-829 petition is approved before that date. Defendants’ delays in adjudicating the I-829 petitions are preventing Plaintiffs from applying for and obtaining naturalization and U.S. citizenship despite their statutory right to do so. 

According to 8 U.S.C. §1571(b), “[i]t is the sense of Congress that the processing of an immigration benefit application should be completed not later than 180 days after the initial filing of the application.

Despite its public statements to the contrary, USCIS is not adjudicating petitions in the order filed. Plaintiffs are aware of many investors with I-829 petitions filed subsequent to their petitions that have been adjudicated by Defendants.

Defendant USCIS’ actions and inactions are consistent with changes made to its mission statement deleting reference to foreign nationals filing petitions as “customers” (even though they are fee paying customers), eliminating “granting immigration and citizenship benefits” from the mission statement and eliminating reference to the U.S. as a “nation of immigrants.”

Upon information and belief, Defendant USCIS’ delays in processing Plaintiffs’ petitions are part of an overall effort on the part of Defendants to delay processing times for immigrants seeking benefits. This is consistent with the fact that Defendants’ overall average case processing times increased by 46% over the past two fiscal years. Case processing times increased substantially during the last fiscal year even as case receipt volume markedly decreased. 

Defendant USCIS’ “net backlog” of all case types now exceeds 2.3 million delayed cases, which amounts to more than a 100% increase over the span of one year despite a mere 4% increase in case receipts during that period.

Defendant USCIS has erected barriers to prevent investors from communicating with the agency regarding the status of their petitions unless their petitions have been pending more than 85 months for I-829 petitions.

USCIS is primarily a fee supported, and not appropriations supported agency.

On information and belief, USCIS, through DHS, is permitted to set filing fees for the applications and petitions it adjudicates, including I-829 and petitions.

On May 4, 2016 USCIS (through DHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), in which it proposed fee increases for almost all types of benefits applications and petitions it adjudicates. That NPRM suggests that USCIS is using EB-5 filing fees to pay for other, non-EB-5 adjudications instead of using EB-5 filing fees to process EB-5 application and petitions in a timely fashion. See 81 Fed. Reg. No. 86. At 26904, et seq.

In the NPRM, USCIS states that the average number of employee hours it takes to process an I-829 petition is only 5.5 hours.

On information and belief, the Immigrant Investor Program Office has the authority to hire personnel at rates outside of the normal GS scale in order to attract candidates with the specialized business and economic knowledge and experience that is relevant to EB-5 adjudications.

On information and belief, USCIS, through DHS, has the ability to set fees at a level necessary to ensure sufficient resources to hire enough staff to process EB-5 applications and petitions in a timely manner.

The filing fee for a Form I-829 petition is currently $3,750. On information and belief, it is the second most expensive filing fee for a single petition.

On information and belief, USCIS generated more than $50 million of EB-5 fee revenue in 2017 and $40 million in 2018.

Despite massive EB-5 fee revenues and decreasing EB-5 case receipts, EB-5 processing times have inexplicably and dramatically increased.

USCIS posted processing time for I-829 petitions has increased by 209% from 2015 to the present.

Plaintiffs have followed all filing procedures and have submitted complete petitions.

On information and belief, Plaintiffs are, and have been since the time of filing, eligible to have their petitions approved.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, in view of the arguments and authority noted herein, Plaintiffs respectfully pray that the Defendants be cited to appear herein and that, upon due consideration, the Court enter an order:

a. granting Plaintiffs a Writ of Mandamus and/or an order under the A.P.A. requiring Defendants to adjudicate the investor Plaintiffs’ I-829 petitions within 30 days; and

b. granting such other relief at law and in equity as justice may require.

c. retaining jurisdiction over this matter to ensure Defendants’ compliance with this Court’s order.