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Congress created an investment visa program, the EB-5 Program, in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy, specifically rural and depressed areas, through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The loopholes in the program, which sells a pathway to U.S. citizenship to wealthy foreigners and their families who invest in job-creation projects, quickly allowed the program to become riddled with fraud and to stray from what Congress envisioned. After an eight-month lapse, Congress has brought the program back to life through a provision in a funding bill – but it returns with many reforms.
George Fishman, the Center’s senior legal fellow and former DHS Deputy General Counsel, who was closely involved in EB-5 reform efforts, said, “These reforms bring to a close a seven-plus-year bi-partisan reform effort led by both the Democrat and Republican chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Needed changes were blocked time and time again by big-moneyed industry interests which fought to keep their easy access to cheap capital through the EB-5 fraud riddled program.”
David North, a Center fellow and EB-5 expert, said, “I am pleased by the changes to the investment visa program, but I continue to disapprove of a program that allows an alien to buy a family-sized set of green cards and eventual citizenship. The program has been extended through FY 2027; we will see if big-moneyed industry sharks find new loopholes and again turn EB-5 into a program rife with fraud.”
The EB-5 reforms increase the minimum investment required, make gerrymandering more difficult, and target corruption through a new integrity package.
Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
George Fishman is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
David North is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Voices in the opening montage:
- Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
- Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
- President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
- Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
- Laraine Newman as a “Conehead” on SNL in 1977.
- Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
- Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
- Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
- Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
- Charlton Heston in “Planet of the Apes”.
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