End EB-5 Visa, Slow Chain Migration, Help Stabilize U.S. Population

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

October 25, 2017
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EB-5 creates chain migration, RAISE Act would slow it.
If only the Congress could muster up the initiative to end visa programs that have long ago outlived their usefulness, and have been repeatedly exposed as fraud-ridden, it would be a big step in the right direction toward meaningful immigration reform.

Congress could start with the EB-5 visa, often referred to as the citizenship for sale visa that has reared its ugly head again. An EB-5 tutorial (known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive): in exchange for a token $500,000 investment in a commercial venture made through a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Serrvices-approved-regional center, the overseas financier, his or her spouse and minor children will get permanent residency green cards that provide a path to citizenship. As of October 3, there are 843 USCIS regional centers, and about 10,000 visas are issued annually.

Recently, the Department of Justice indicted a California couple on visa fraud and identity theft charges for allegedly swindling the federal government by faking investment forms and creating phantom employees to create the illusion that their companies were viable entities under the EB-5 program.

The pattern of EB-5 fraud is well-established. The scam artists convince gullible investors into believing that the real estate projects they’re funding will be reap rich rewards. Instead, the mostly foreign national investors have lost tens of millions.

The under-analyzed green card benefit that accompanies the EB-5 is a major contributor to chain migration, adds greatly to population growth, and is alone reason enough to cancel the visa.

Chain migration is a major population-driver. Both the original Immigrant and spouse, once U.S. citizens, can petition for all their brothers and sisters. Those brothers and sisters can bring in their spouses and their minor children. The original Immigrant can also petition for his married and unmarried adult sons and daughters who can then bring in their spouses and minor children. Eventually, the original chain starts a new immigration wave.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), an amnesty proponent, argues that the EB-5 should be ended. Said Feinstein, “The EB-5 program is inherently flawed. It says that U.S. citizenship is for sale. It is wrong to have a special pathway to citizenship for the wealthy while millions wait in line for visas.”

The RAISE Act, if it becomes law, could dramatically change the EB-5 standards. The merits-based points system that RAISE promotes could indicate that the Trump administration plans to put the EG-5 investor category into the skilled immigration category. Tougher standards means fewer applicants would qualify.

Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to urge your Senator to cosponsor the RAISE Act.
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