Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My PBS NewsHour essay: What’s really at stake in the EB-5 investor visa overhaul: honesty

What’s really at stake in the EB-5 investor visa overhaul: honesty:

Through the EB-5 visa program, wealthy foreigners can invest $500,000 to $1 million in development projects and in turn, receive green cards for themselves and family members if the investment can be shown to create 10 U.S. jobs. The program is now up for Congressional reauthorization.

Supporters of the program have a basic mantra: “It creates jobs for U.S. workers at no expense to the U.S. taxpayer.”

That’s what Stephen Yale-Loehr, an adjunct immigration law professor at Cornell University and founding director of the EB-5 trade group Invest in the USA, told PBS NewsHour last week.

That’s pretty much what Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), eager to attract investment to his state, claimed in a statement.

But claiming that EB-5 investments create jobs at no expense to the taxpayer is bogus. It’s also why an expected compromise regarding reauthorization of EB-5 falls short, despite improvements to the program.

Having covered the EB-5 issue for five years, especially regarding its role in the controversial Atlantic Yards (now known as Pacific Park) real estate project in Brooklyn, I think the program should be stopped in its tracks and fully revamped, not simply tweaked.

The ability to monetize a scarce public asset — access to the United States — has become a gravy train for developers seeking cheap loans, immigration attorneys, China-based migration agencies and federally-authorized investment packagers known as regional centers.

The profits at stake prompt deceptive practices — both in marketing investments and claiming job creation — that distort the intent if not the letter of the law.

....For the rest of the article, please click here

1 comment:

  1. Excellent piece, Norman. Best overview of the EB-5 boondoggle yet. If only common sense and clear analysis were enough to shape policy....