No South Dakota official has been held accountable in a court of law for the monkeyshines in our state’s exploitation of the EB-5 visa investment program, which allows wealthy foreigners to effectively buy green cards by investing $500,000 in American business ventures. But the feds may be working on nicking the Trump Mafia for abusing EB-5:
New York federal prosecutors subpoenaed Kushner Companies, the real estate development company owned by the family of President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, over its use of a visa program that offers green cards to wealthy foreign investors.
The subpoena was received by Kushner Companies in May, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, and regards the company’s use of the EB-5 visa program to finance a development in Jersey City, N.J. called One Journal Square.
It isn’t clear what potential violations the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office is looking into [Max Greenwood, “Kushner Companies Subpoenaed over Use of Visa Programs,” The Hill, 2017.08.02].
Recruiters seeking EB-5 money for Trump/Kushner projects have followed South Dakota’s model of invoking official government connections to sell Chinese investors on EB-5 projects. The “Reforming American Immigration or Strong Employment Act,” introduced by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue last February and endorsed by Donald Trump yesterday, would eliminate EB-5 visas. Instead, prospective immigrants can earn points toward entry for investing in and actively managing new businesses here:
(1) IN GENERAL.—An applicant may accrue, for foreign investment under this subsection— (A) 6 points if the applicant agrees to invest the equivalent of $1,350,000 in foreign currency in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, maintain such investment for at least 3 years, and play an active role in the management of such commercial enterprise as the applicant’s primary occupation; and (B) 12 points if the applicant agrees to invest the equivalent of $1,800,000 in foreign currency in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, maintain such investment for at least 3 years, and play an active role in the management of such commercial enterprise as the applicant’s primary occupation [RAISE Act, as introduced to U.S. Senate, 2017.02.13].
Under the RAISE Act, a foreigner needs at least 30 points to apply for a visa. Among other criteria, one gets 10 points for being 26 to 30 years old (apparently the optimum age for immigrants—folks over 50 get zero points for age). One gets 13 points for having a doctorate in science, technology, engineering, or math, 12 points for scoring the top decile of an English language proficiency test, 15 points for winning an Olympic medal, and 25 points for winning a Nobel prize.
The RAISE Act strikes immigration preferences for siblings and adult children. In eliminating EB-5, the Trump/Cotton/Perdue plan would eliminate the preference his adult son-in-law appears to have been using to win foreign investment in his family’s real estate projects.
Related Reading: Trump’s perhaps unwitting announcement that he would cancel EB-5 came the same day as private EB-5 recruiter U.S. Immigration Fund announced its expansion to India in a bid to expand India’s investors from a few dozen to “thousands in the next couple of years.”