Report: Trump In-Laws Using Chinese EB-5 Visas to Build Tower

Trump Plaza Residences Jersey City (Walter Burns / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Walter Burns / Flickr / CC / Cropped

Bloomberg reported Monday that Trump Bay Street, a 50-story apartment complex being built in Jersey City by the Kushner Companies, is being partially funded through a controversial immigration program known as EB-5.

The CEO of the Kushner Companies, Bloomberg notes, is Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

The completed project “will have an outdoor pool, indoor golf simulator and sweeping views of Lower Manhattan,” Bloomberg notes.

Under EB-5, foreigners receive a two-year visa in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in the U.S., with enhanced opportunities for permanent residency. Out of 10,000 visas available, Chinese citizens account for about 85% of the total awarded, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The developer has allegedly used the visa program in an explicit sales pitch to Chinese investors, complete with a “a Chinese-subtitled video” that “leads viewers behind the wheel of a car into Jersey City with scenes of the tower, all to the tune of the theme song from The Sopranos, ‘Woke Up This Morning,'” Bloomberg reports.

The use of EB-5 visas to fund investments is not illegal, but is highly controversial. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe faced tough questions about his company’s alleged abuse of EB-5 visas in his hard-fought 2013 race against Tea Party favorite Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Former president Bill Clinton and former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, among others, have also been connected to the company.

The Kushner Companies’ use of the EB-5 visas might seem to contradict Trump’s strong stance against the abuse of the country’s immigration laws, as well as his posture against China as an economic competitor. The building, however, is to be owned by the Kushner Companies, and is using the Trump name under a licensing agreement.

The firm hired to attract Chinese investors is reportedly called US Immigration fund.

This article has been updated to note that the development is not owned by Trump, but uses the Trump name under a licensing agreement.


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