The United States EB-5 Visa program allowing foreign investors to obtain citizenship after investing $500,000 to $1 million to finance a business which employs 10 or more Americans in economically depressed areas. The New York Times overviewed this program in today’s paper and pointed out how the EB-5 program, while good in concept, has drawn people with ties to Chinese and Iranian intelligence and international fugitives who have laundered money to gain citizenship here.
In Vermont, two developers were charged with defrauding investors from 74 countries raising over $350 million in an EB-5 program for projects including a ski resort. According to Senator Charles Grassley, an opponent of the program, developers use it to create a few low income communities but then use the program funds to develop lucury condominiums, hotels and convention centers. It is a boondoggle.
According to public records, over 10,000 visas are awarded annually mostly to wealthy Chinese citizens who make up over 80% of the investors. They want to become US citizens.
In addition, there are national security issues. The Government Accounting Office says that the funds being used for visas may be coming from human trafficking and the drug trade.
The vote on extending the program will be within the end of the month when the program runs out unless extended.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers