EB-5 Investment Program Extended Until September 2016

Foreign nationals who desire to become permanent residents of the United States have until September of this year to apply for a Green Card through the EB-5 Investor Investment Program or IIP. The program was supposed to end in December 2015 but both houses of Congress have extended the EB-5 program until September 2016. Even with the extension, it would be status quo for the program, such as the amount of minimum investment, the definition for Targeted Employment Areas, and other reforms.

In connection with this all I-924, I-526, and I-829 will still be accepted, processed, and adjudicated until the enactment of a new reform bill or until the expiration of the program come September 2016. For regional centers, the said date provides the last window for investors at the $500,000 level. Initially, it was expected that the minimum investment amount at the regional centers would increase to $750,000 or $800,000. So for investors who do not have the extra $250,000 – $300,000 investment can take advantage of this opportunity.

Applications for EB-5 visas doubled to 6,277 in the first three months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. The program has seen an increase in application since both Republicans and Democrats called for an end or reform to the program. There was also a 62.6% jump in the number of pending petitions from 13,526 in the first quarter of 2015 to 21,988 in the first quarter of 2016. Unfortunately, there was a decrease in the approval rate for petitions from 56% to 20% this year.

A 2015 report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that the method being used by the USCIS in calculating the economic benefits of the EB-5 program was designed to help generate jobs and increase foreign investment in the US economy but there were doubts on the effectiveness of the program as it had claimed.

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The Benefits of a Being a Western Trial Lawyers Association Member

Continuous legal education and discussions on how to deal most effectively with any case’s most puzzling problems, first, by the best courtroom lawyers in the United States and, second, in venues that ensure pure relaxation and rejuvenation that will make you face awaiting challenges with renewed vigor and enthusiasm – these are just some of the great things you will be treated with as member of the Western Trial Lawyers Association or WTLA.

Since 1966, the WTLA has tirelessly provided its members, neophyte litigators and some of the finest trial lawyers in the US, occasions that promote learning excellence and the free exchange of ideas. The association holds two sponsored seminars each year where seasoned attorneys impart their knowledge of the law and courtroom experiences; the talks are followed by small group analyses of new and significant courtroom tactics and techniques which help make all members, especially the neophytes, much better prepared in serving and representing their clients. These small group discussions also pave the way for an in-depth sharing of the collective experiences of trial lawyers from different age groups, allowing for a much broader understanding of the complexities of a courtroom scenario.

Originally composed of some of the best trial lawyers from the western part of the US, outstanding litigators from the rest of the country have joined the association after hearing of it and its reputation. The association’s pursuit of excellence in the legal field through means free from stress or peer pressure is what makes the members of WTLA more inspired and passionate in their profession.

Membership in the WTLA is not without its rewards, of course. Besides learning from some of the nation’s best litigators, themselves, members also get to enjoy the following benefits: discounted WTLA seminars; WTLA newsletter; western region expert witness bank; and, attorney referral service.

If you’re interested in joining the Western Trial Lawyers Association or attending its 2013 and / or future seminars, it can be an experience you will never forget. Whether a neophyte or a veteran trial lawyer from the US’ western regions or any part of the nation, all you need to do is contact any of its current officers and directors or fill out its seminar registry form and accomplish whatever instructions you will be given.

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Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Celebrated Tort Reforms

Weeks after Oklahoma’s Supreme Court struck down a state tort reform law, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has publicly denounced the ruling, which it deems unfair.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 4 that Oklahoma’s 2009 reform package, which featured reforms of class action suits, liability reforms, changes to science testimony rules, and more, was unconstitutional because it violated the state constitution’s “single subject” rule, which bars the passage of legislation that involves several subjects.

“This bill is unconstitutional and void in its entirety,” wrote Justice Noma Gurich in the 7-2 ruling.
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said the Oklahoma Senate will work to pass individual pieces of legislation to achieve the reforms that the Supreme Court struck down, which Governor Mary Fallin called an obstacle for businesses.

ATRA issued a statement in June that called the Supreme Court’s decision disrespectful to the state government’s “hard-won” compromises. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the 2009 act “one of the single most significant legislative packages signed into law this year and a blueprint for all states in need of tort reform.” ATRA president Tiger Joyce claimed that Oklahoma’s “high court has taken it upon itself to usurp the prerogatives of the proper policy-making branches of government.”

“Every Oklahoman who is tired of costly lawsuit abuse should feel insulted by the high court majority and its apparent willingness, on such specious constitutional grounds, to obstruct the will of the people,” Joyce said.

If nothing is done to address the court’s reasons for rejecting this legislation, it could sweeping effects on both accident victims and the lawyers who represent them.

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