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Breitbart Dings Rounds EB-5 Bill as Favor to Foreigners and Big Cities

Senator Mike Rounds’s effort to water down EB-5 vias reforms isn’t sitting well with Trump’s base.. or at least it won’t after they read their daily dose of Breitbart. Conservative hack Neil Munro writes that Rounds’s bill is good for China and India and bad for rural South Dakota:

South Dakota GOP Sen. Mike Rounds has drafted a bill that would help wealthy Chinese buy citizenship — and would also help steer investment away from the heartland states towards the increasingly wealthy states on the coasts.

…The long waits make it difficult for the U.S. real-estate industry to sell more EB-5 green cards to Indians or Chinese lenders.

Rounds’ bill will fix that real-estate funding problem by allowing Chinese and Indians lenders to skip their waiting lines after just three years if they get “parole” from the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The foreigners have an obvious strategy to get parole: Persuade Rounds and other legislators to pressure the DHS secretary until the secretary quietly approves the parole requests.

…Rounds’ bill also apparently reduces the incentives for investors to put their money into lower income areas. On page 87, his bill cuts the loan requirement for normal, non-poor locations to just $1.1 million, down from the $1.8 million in the USCIS regulations. But Rounds’ bill sets the price for TEA areas at $1 million. This shift means his bill offers only a $100,000 incentive for lenders to put their money into lower-income areas.

Rounds’ staff did not respond to emails from Breitbart News [Neil Munro, “GOP Sen. Mike Rounds Pushes EB-5 Visa Bill Which Aids Chinese, Indian Migrants, Coastal Cities,” Breitbart, 2019.11.17].

Don’t let me get into the habit of saying that anything Breitbart publishes is right… but Breitbart is right. Rounds is doing favors for rich foreigners who can pay more for a ladder over Trump’s “wall” while reducing the incentive that those foreigners have to invest their money in projects that would help rural areas like South Dakota. I’m still struggling to figure out what the junior Senator from South Dakota expects to bring home to South Dakota from this bill.


  1. Donald Pay 2019-11-18 08:27

    You have to wonder whether Rounds’ effort is just a wet kiss on Trump’s ample derrière, rather than a serious effort at reform. The Trump Organization depends on foreign investment, because few US investors will risk the bad reputation that Trump has for welching on his debt. My daughter caught Trump partners advertising in job postings in Beijing for a “white” representative to push EB-5 investment opportunity in a now mothballed Trump hotel in Texas, and it made the NY Times and Wall Street Journal. And Jared has been following Daddy-In-Law into the EB-5 route, too. Having 666 on your failing investment doesn’t encourage the good Christian people to invest, so he has to go overseas for money.

    EB-5 was supposed to be a way for foreign entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in the United States to employ Americans. That’s a good program, but it’s been corrupted over the years by con men like Trump and other real estate slime. It needs reform, but Rounds’ efforts are pitifully inadequate, even more destructive than what’s happening now. Funneling money to corrupt enterprises and businessmen for glamor projects that benefit the superrich is not what America needs.

    It’s great when the left and the right can work together to end corruption, isn’t it? So, let’s do it.

  2. Loren 2019-11-18 08:55

    Does Munro understand what happens to people that criticize Smiley’s EB5 programs? Yikes! ;-)

  3. mike from iowa 2019-11-18 09:15

    When exactly did dead Breitbart get a real conscience?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-18 12:16

    Donald, did she catch those Trump advertisers back in 2017, or has there been more recent activity?

    Could Rounds be helping Trump send the Chinese a big wet smooch by proposing a bill that backs off the higher rates proposed under the impending rule change and reduces the extra cost of investing in more viable urban properties? Could the Rounds bill be a nice quiet way for Trump to make concessions to the Chinese so he can secure some semblance of a trade deal that doersn’t overtly look like he gave up the farm?

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-18 12:20

    Mike, Loren, EB-5 is an interesting cross-over issue where those of us who recognize the cronyism that infuses Rounds’s and Trump’s approach to EB-5 can find common cause with Breitbart readers who are at least consistent in their xenophobia. Observers on both sides of the aisle can see the mainstream politicans (and hey, right now, that includes Rounds and Trump) sacrificing professed principles to simple greed and the urge to curry favor with wealthy elites.

    See? Whether you cheer Dakota Free Press or Breitbart, your real enemy is Trump and corporate America.

  6. Debbo 2019-11-18 21:03

    As Jim Hightower correctly says, It’s not Left v right. It’s top v bottom.

  7. Donald Pay 2019-11-19 08:07


    This was 2016 right around the election. Technically, it was a Trump partner who was digging around in Beijing for EB-5, but they were using the Trump brand name. That probably means the Trump Organization contractually granted the rights to use the name in this way or that they were even more active than they wanted to let on in this scheme. As we’ve seen with the Russian and Ukraine scandals, Trump in his business life prefers to work through partners, “yes men,” fixers, what not, who do the detail work. Trump likes to give orders, like a Mafia don, but he’s going to make sure he has a few layers of fixers actually doing the sleazy stuff. Thus, he has people like Cohen, Stone, Guilliani, Parnas, The Three Amigos, Nunes, etc., while he skates by. Thus, Trump’s favorite phrase, “You should ask _____.”

    The President is a criminal, and he’s organized a criminal gang to protect him.

  8. jerry 2019-11-19 09:18

    Vindman is testifying live on Chubby impeachment.

  9. Debbo 2019-11-19 16:01

    Apparently China isn’t the only place Roundy and his hero, Putrid Polluter, cares about more than SD. Via 538’s “Significant Digits”:

    60 percent fewer EPA inspections in the Midwest

    A new report from the Illinois watchdog journalism organization Better Government Association says President Trump’s cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency are being deeply felt in midwestern communities. This is due to approximately 150 fewer scientists, technicians and other employees in the EPA’s regional offices, as well as a 60 percent decline in area inspections for air, water and land pollution. By comparison, the number of EPA inspections across the rest of the country declined by 30 percent. [Better Government Association]

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