Tuesday, March 08, 2016

As Trump connection to EB-5 gets big play, remember how Chinese government gains from hawking U.S. visas for Atlantic Yards

There was a big story yesterday from Bloomberg Politics about Donald Trump and the EB-5 immigrant investor program, in which foreign millionaires park $500,000 in a purportedly job-creating investment and get green cards for themselves and their families, Trump Tower Funded by Rich Chinese Who Invest Cash for Visas:
[Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump] has called for a revamping, even a freezing, of the immigration system, but says he would make an exception for the highly skilled.
Yet no skills are required of the wealthy Chinese being courted by a Chinese-subtitled video to help finance a huge Trump-branded tower in New Jersey...
The video was produced to help raise tens of millions of dollars through a controversial government program that offers expedited visas to foreign investors overwhelmingly from China. While the program has many supporters who argue it attracts foreign capital and creates jobs at no U.S. taxpayer cost, congressional overseers and Homeland Security have raised sharp concerns....
Trump Bay Street is a 50-story luxury rental apartment building being built by Kushner Companies, whose chief executive officer, Jared Kushner, is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
This was reprinted in publications like the Boston Globe and picked up by (among others) Talking Points Memo, GawkerSlateRaw Story, Fortune, the Jersey Journal, Gothamist, the Guardian (oddly generous to EB-5) as well as Republican sites like Red State, Breitbart, and the National Review. One right-wing site, FrontPageMag, defended the program, while immigration hawk David North of the Center for Immigration Studies noted that Hillary Clinton's brother also used EB-5.


I pointed out yesterday that there's a more egregious dog-bites-man EB-5 story out there. That means very cheap loans--$249 million in the latest round, $100 million before that--benefiting Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (excepting the Barclays Center and B2 modular tower) by Greenland Holdings, which was majority owned by the government of Shanghai at the time of the money-raising (and is now plurality-owned).

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