Host Ray Suarez and guest panelists Algernon Austin, Marcos Vilar and Juan Carlos Benitez discuss why job creation remains low.
Over the course of a career spanning more than 25 years, Juan Carlos Benitez has worked as a labor attorney, a legal advisor, a legislative director, and a business executive. He currently serves as the president of three businesses based in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Alongside his various professional pursuits, Juan Carlos Benitez maintains memberships in a number of groups, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
As part of its efforts to promote fair and just immigration law, the AILA oversees a variety of national programs and events aimed at education and advocacy. Currently, the organization is working to advance the Immigration Justice Campaign, a legal services initiative it launched in partnership with the American Immigration Council.
Through the Immigration Justice Campaign, the AILA and its partners leverage the work of volunteer attorneys to advocate and provide representation for individuals facing deportation from the United States. For its part, the AILA is currently building a national network of attorneys and attorney mentors to ensure that detained immigrants have access to qualified legal counsel. The organization is also coordinating advocacy efforts to help build a national movement dedicated to protecting immigrant rights.
In addition to the AILA and the American Immigration Council, partners that support the Immigration Justice Campaign include the American Immigrant Representation Project, the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, and the Stand with Immigrants Campaign. Law school clinics, bar associations, individual law firms, and other organizations are also working to advance the initiative. For more information, visit www.aila.org/justice.
Prior to becoming the president and chairman of the board for the Latte Training Academy on the Pacific island of Saipan, Juan Carlos Benitez attended the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Santurce, Puerto Rico, where he earned a bachelor of arts in judicial systems. Juan Carlos Benitez also attended the Inter-American School of Law in Hato Ray, Puerto Rico, where he earned his juris doctor.
The Inter-American School of Law was founded in 1961 to provide legal programs for students with diverse backgrounds. The juris doctor program includes a wide variety of elective courses in different areas, such as environmental law, intellectual property law, trademarks and patents, and banking law.
The Inter-American School of Law’s Juris Doctor program also features a clinical program that gives legal students the ability to learn basic practical skills by taking part in hands-on workshops and courses. The clinical program involves outreach activities in the local community, giving students real life experience in legal issues that range from international human rights and criminal litigation to environmental projects and child custody law.
The recipient of a juris doctor, Juan Carlos Benitez has had a long history in public service, focusing on immigration, economic development, and social educational programs. As president of Marianas EB-5 Regional Center, Juan Carlos Benitez assists foreign nationals in navigating the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
The EB-5 program was established in 1990 to help grow the US economy with foreign capital. The program grants lawful permanent residence to immigrant investors who invest either $1 million in commercial projects anywhere in the country or $500,000 in a “targeted employment area,” and in the process create or preserve at least 10 US jobs. The program has had a significant impact on the US economy since its inception, as highlighted in a 2015 report by Bipartisanpolicy.org.
As of 2015, the program had brought in a minimum of $4.2 billion in foreign investment. These figures are conservative, however, as they were based only on total investors actually granted permanent residency. Including investors initially approved for conditional residency, total foreign investment was about $11.5 billion.
The report also revealed the program’s positive impact on GDP and tax revenues. In 2013 the program contributed $3.5 billion to the US GDP, creating over 41,000 jobs and generating over $805 million in tax revenues for federal and state governments.
An accomplished attorney and business leader, Juan Carlos Benitez serves as president of the Washington Pacific Economic Development Group, which works to identify and access federal funding to support various projects. In addition to practicing in Washington, DC, Juan Carlos Benitez works in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. He maintains membership in several organizations, including the Puerto Rican Bar Association.
The Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA) was established in 1957 with the mission of providing personal and professional support to Puerto Rican and Latino attorneys. In addition to representing the interests of practicing attorneys, it raises money for law students through the PRBA Scholarship Fund.
Since the fund was launched in 1978, more than $400,000 in scholarships has been awarded to deserving law students attending accredited law schools in New York State. The scholarships are awarded based on scholastic achievement, community involvement, and financial need. To raise money in support of its Scholarship Fund, PRBA accepts financial contributions from members and corporate sponsors and holds an annual gala.
In 2017, the gala will take place October 20 at Chelsea Piers in New York City. The event will celebrate PRBA’s 60th anniversary with an evening featuring dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Money raised through tickets, sponsorships, and auction sales will support the PRBA Scholarship Fund. More information about the black-tie affair can be found at www.prbany.com.