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Schumer endorses EB-5 bill making regional centers permanent, cites projects in New York (City Point?!), avoids Atlantic Yards

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, didn’t attend a hearing 12/7/11 on making permanent a provision that allows regional centers--federally authorized private (mostly) investment pools--recruit immigrant investors under the EB-5 program.

But Schumer is the first co-sponsor on a bill by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to renew the program, and he did offer an enthusiastic statement for the record, applauding “a program that has done so much good in New York State, and which needs to be made permanent.”

“In New York State, we have 9 USCIS-approved regional center projects that are doing a world of good to create good-paying American jobs,” Schumer said, glossing over the fact that, at least with the Atlantic Yards investment, the job-creation calculation is extremely dubious.

The list, including City Point

Schumer proceeded to list five projects, conspicuously omitting the largest, Atlantic Yards, but mentioning--news to me--that the City Point project in Downtown Brooklyn by Acadia Realty Trust has raised $200 million in EB-5 funding.

(Graphic from NYCRC Chinese web site promoting the project.)

While two of the five projects Schumer cited were at least partially infrastructure projects--the George Washington Bridge Bus Station and the Battery Maritime Building/Pier A--he fudged the issue by declaring that “we will not be able to continue funding worthy infrastructure projects like these if the EB-5 program expires in September 2012.”

The statement