Who has profited? As I've reported previously, the real winners are former federal immigration officials who formed lucrative limited partnerships to cash in on their access and politically connected cronies. An internal U.S. Justice Department investigative report revealed years ago that "aliens were paying $125K" instead of the required $500,000 to $1 million minimum, and "almost all of the monies went to the general partners and the companies who set up the limited partners."
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has been pressing EB-5 middlemen who operate a network of regional centers to cough up data on how many jobs these immigrant investor schemes are creating, lists of current and former corporate officers at the centers, and details of consulting services and other contracts into which the centers have entered. Where's the rest of Capitol Hill?
Just as in Canada, American whistleblowers also have been raising red flags for years. Most recently, immigration officials in Laguna Niguel, Calif., last fall spilled the beans on how they "often rushed or skipped altogether economic reviews of applicants to the EB-5 visa program." They did so under orders from senior managers pandering to wealthy and politically connected foreign applicants. The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General is investigating government retaliation against employees who reported the misconduct. "In essence," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, noted in a public letter, "high-level officials in the (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau) are accused of creating an environment hostile to those who insist on following the law."
That fish rots right down from the head of USCIS, Alejandro Mayorkas, who was confirmed for the job in December -- despite remaining under investigation by the DHS Inspector General for his alleged role in intervening on behalf of GreenTech, a crony company with ties to Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton's other brother, Anthony. The alleged scam involved special treatment to the company, which wanted special treatment and EB-5 visas for, you guessed it, deep-pocketed Chinese investors.
Recklessly peddling foreign investor visas for the precious privilege of entry into our country is bad for our sovereignty, bad for workers and good for corruptocrats. Moreover, history shows that government is always bad at picking economic winners and losers. If Canada can come to its senses on this, why not America?
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