The scandal-plagued EB-5 visa, which allows foreign investors and their families to essentially buy U.S. citizenship, is continuing to be funded by the Republican-controlled Congress.
Under the EB-5 visa, wealthy foreign nationals can claim that they will invest at least $500,000 and thus receive Green Cards for their family for at least two years, with pathways to citizenship available as well. The only requirement is that the EB-5 holder creates ten U.S. jobs. Currently, 10,000 foreign nationals and their families are allowed to enter the U.S. every year on the EB-5 visa.
Despite the visa program being a magnet for corruption and scandal, the Republican-backed budget that averts a shut down of the federal government continues funding the program.
Less than a month ago, five companies with Vermont’s Jay Peak resort developments reached a settlement after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused resort owner Ariel Quiros of embezzling tens of millions of dollars by using the EB-5 visa.
Breitbart News’s Ian Mason reported on the recent scandal:
The SEC accuses Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from foreign investors using the controversial EB-5 visa program, through which foreigners, usually Chinese, can obtain U.S. green cards if they invest $500,000 in certain American-based projects. Since 2008, it is alleged Quiros took more than $50 million dollars of the $350 million he raised from EB-5-seeking foreigners for his own personal expenses, in effect using the promise of U.S. permanent residency to run a massive “ponzi-type” investment fraud.
The SEC seized Jay Peak’s assets as they brought suit against Quiros in 2016, alleging he was using EB-5 investor funds to “(1) Finance his purchase of the Jay Peak resort; (2) back a personal line of credit to pay his income taxes; (3) purchase a luxury condominium; (4) pay taxes of a company he owns; and (5) buy an unrelated resort.”
Wednesday’s settlement involved five contractors who worked with Quiros on the water park at Jay Peak: Black River Design Architects PLC; DEW Construction Corp.; VHV Co.; FabricAir Inc.; and Ramaker and Associates Inc. According to Law360, the companies deny wrongdoing but agreed to settle the case for $45,000 each.
In 2016, Breitbart News reported on an EB-5 visa fraud case where a wealthy Chinese national was able to land an EB-5 visa by promising to invest in a New York development, but then allegedly ended up using the investment money on personal expenses like buying a boat, a luxury car, and a home.
Last year, Breitbart News reported how investment firms are now pushing the EB-5 visa in India, trying to get wealthy Indian nationals to promise an investment in order to gain U.S. citizenship for themselves and their family.
When wealthy foreign investors come to the U.S. on the EB-5 visa, it only takes them two years of being in the country before they and their families can apply for permanent legal residency. From there, they can later apply for U.S. citizenship and become naturalized citizens.
Critics of the EB-5 visa, like Center for Immigration Studies analyst David North, who has testified before Congress on the corruption involved in the EB-5 process, says the visa is a way for U.S. citizenship to essentially be sold.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.