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Where Do Criticisms of the EB-5 Investment Program Go Wrong?


The EB-5 Immigrant Investment Program continues to be a hot topic in political circles. The program has been the victim of several false rumors and conspiracy theories peddled by politicians and news outlets in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Politico published a story alleging that Trump was considering changing the EB-5 investment program, and although some named in the article disputed the story’s allegations, such as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the EB-5 investment program still received several weeks of bad press.

Shortly afterward, the EB5 investment program was attacked again: four U.S. senators—Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Chuck Grassley—wrote a letter to Trump in an attempt to persuade him to suspend several programs that allow foreign nationals to immigrate to the United States, such as the EB-5 investment program.

The senators directed most of their ire toward the H-1B, H-2B, and OTP programs. They argued that these programs should be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic as they make it more difficult for those already residing in the United States to find jobs. The senators also directed fire at the EB-5 investment program specifically: responding to Trump’s decision to suspend most types of immigration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senators demanded that EB-5 investors be removed from the list of exempted programs.

The senators cited common misconceptions about the EB-5 program as evidence for their claims. They argued that the program is “plagued by scandal and fraud and that it functions as a ‘pay-for-citizenship scheme.’” Thankfully, for both EB-5 investors and U.S. workers, these claims couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The EB-5 Program Has Robust Anti-Fraud Measures

Although some prospective EB-5 investment participants have experienced fraud, almost all EB-5 project developers are reliable professionals looking to grow their business. Unfortunately, the media chooses to selectively focus on the very worst stories.

To aggressively combat fraud in the rare instances where it occurs, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has developed robust anti-fraud measures. The Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) similarly works with other agencies and overseas officials to combat fraud and maintain the integrity of the EB-5 investment program.

The EB-5 Investment Program Provides a Tremendous Good for the U.S. Economy at No Cost to the U.S. Taxpayer

The senators’ view of the EB-5 investment program as a “pay-for-citizenship scheme” is a popular misconception. However, the EB-5 program has strict requirements for investors, and USCIS is perfectly willing to reject petitions if an investor has not fulfilled the EB-5 program requirements.

One requirement mandates that EB-5 investors must keep their capital invested and at risk for the duration of the investment period. In some cases, investors have lost large portions or even the entirety of their initial investment. In addition to putting their investment at risk, investors are also required to provide evidence showing that 10 new full-time jobs have been or will be created for U.S. workers through their investment. Unless EB-5 investors fulfill this requirement, they will not be eligible to receive a green card. In addition, EB-5 investors must show that their EB-5 capital came from lawful sources.

Immigrant investors have supplied more than $37 billion to the U.S. economy through the EB-5 program since the 2008 recession. This capital has stimulated businesses and provided new jobs in a period when it was desperately needed and will continue to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EB-5 Investors Continue to Stimulate the U.S. Economy Long After They Receive Green Cards

Immigrant investors who qualify for the EB5 investment program are both affluent and successful. Even once their EB-5 investment ends, these immigrants continue to benefit the U.S. economy by starting and running businesses.

The EB-5 Investment Program is Exactly What the U.S. Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The EB5 investment program is massively beneficial to the U.S. economy and workers without costing U.S. taxpayers a cent. Instead of suspending the program, the four above-mentioned senators should be advocating to improve it. By fixing the visa backlog, which may occur through the enactment of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 as proposed by the Biden administration, the United States would add more capital to the economy, which would create more jobs for U.S. workers.

The EB5 investment program’s economic stimulus is exactly what the United States needs amid the pandemic. Instead of taking away jobs from U.S. workers, the EB-5 program can create them when they are most needed.