“Based on the backlog, they clearly take it seriously, and rightfully so,” he said. “I think that the data tells the story — that this is a program that is being administered carefully with the appropriate in-house expertise.”
DHS declined to say which specific cases had been expedited. It is not clear whether the applications flagged for security reasons were ultimately approved, but USCIS said in a statement that the agency “takes seriously our responsibility to safeguard national security and public safety while deciding requests for immigration benefits.”
“USCIS subjects all benefit requests to a background check process which includes coordinating with law enforcement agencies where applicable,” the statement reads. “USCIS does not proceed to a final decision regarding any benefit requests until concerns identified during the background check process are sufficiently resolved.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in February that SBE Entertainment was indeed able to secure the last piece of the $415 million in financing that they were seeking.
SBE Chief Executive Officer Sam Nazarian said the money raised through the EB-5 funding was “far above” what had been expected and would allow SBE to pay down its senior note on the property, the paper reported. The terms of the project required $115 million in EB-5 capital.
The project was apparently struggling to secure that last bit of funding. Adam Horowitz of Lever Capital Partners wrote to the managing director of Stockbridge Real Estate Funds, which was working on the project, on January 24 saying they had reached out to more than 70 national and international investors/lenders, and all but one said their lack of knowledge of the EB-5 program would prevent them from providing capital for the project.
“Brevet Capital, a New York City based private equity fund, was the one lender that showed interest since they had been spending time working on such projects,” Mr. Horowitz wrote. “Their one hurdle was that there needed to be at least one (1) I-526 petition approval. Since that approval has not been granted they have currently withdrawn from discussions.”