It’s up to President-elect Donald Trump to address fraud and abuse in America’s EB-5 visa program, which provides a citizenship path for foreigners who invest at least $500,000 to $1 million in job-creating projects.
As The Washington Times reports, the lame-duck Congress “renewed the EB-5 visa, without any reforms, for another four-and-a-half years as part of the year-end stopgap spending bill.”
As Washington swamps go, there’s plenty to drain from the EB-5 bog. Critics say the program allows wealthy foreign investors to buy admission to the U.S. A former head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was blasted by an inspector general for “unprecedented” intervention that secured “EB-5 approvals in cases involving politically connected Democrats,” including former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. And in Vermont, hundreds of millions of EB-5 investor dollars allegedly have been diverted “as part of a Ponzi scheme.”
Mr. Trump’s team didn’t respond when The Times sought comment. But fellow Republican and former New York Gov. George Pataki expects he’ll keep EB-5, saying Trump’s “strong stance (is) against illegal immigration. And EB-5 is a legal immigration program. He understands the need for capital, the need for investment.”
The EB-5 program can help Trump fulfill his campaign pledges about boosting U.S. jobs — if he and the new GOP-controlled Congress reform it so that it works as intended, free of insider favoritism.
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