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house Bill H.R. 616

Making EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Permanent

Argument in favor

American businesses rely on the investments and jobs created by the EB-5 program. The program has helped significantly revitalize the post-recession economy. Making it permanent would allow for a continued stream of investments to qualified domestic projects.

Ronald's Opinion
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07/07/2015
With the qualification that the EB-5 program needs a major overhaul. USCIS is incapable of administering an investment program, it should be moved to the SEC. Making a defective program permanent is a dubious achievement. If the many incompetent reviewers are removed and nonsensical regulations fixed so that the program could be run with a true business orientation, it would be tremendous for investment, innovation and US job creation. The only problem is that neither of those current, major problems (incompetence and irrational regulatory scheme) are solved by extending the program "as is."
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Andres's Opinion
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07/20/2015
E2 Visa holders contribute to the economy and have no pathway to citizenship.
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David's Opinion
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07/28/2015
Bringing capital and job creators into U.S. Is a good thing.
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Argument opposed

The EB-5 program, rife with fraud, fails to benefit struggling regions and companies and instead grants rich foreigners green cards. Foreign investments don’t actually reach areas in need as states manipulate the boundaries to include wealthy areas more attractive to investors.

Loraki's Opinion
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10/06/2016
I'd say that these are sufficient reasons for voting down this bill: "Critics of the bill point to recent fraud cases of investment misuse as another reason why the EB-5 program should end. [snip] The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also found investors with potential ties to Chinese and Iranian intelligence as well as international fugitives using false documents to enter the EB-5 program." http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/controversial-eb-5-immigrant-investor-program-faces-possibility-overhaul These are also good reasons to not support this bill: • Eliminating per country limits for employment-based immigrants;
 • Increasing per country limits for family-based immigrants (spouses and children under 21 of investors).
 Sounds like another Democommie/George Soros open borders ploy to me! IMO, we have FAR too much foreign investment in things that conflict with our national security requirements, such as all the mosques that Saudi Arabia has funded here in America. This is funding CIVILIZATION JIHAD! Incidentally, one Countable member said that migration is a right. Yes, it's a right, but so is NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, which means we don't have to allow in EVERYBODY who wants to come here, nor should we.
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Julian's Opinion
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03/04/2015
Why should rich foreigners get special treatment for acquiring visas in a country based on merit?
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Ryan's Opinion
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02/26/2016
Are these foreign investors veted? If a foreign investor gets involved in American politics, we have a problem. Who's to say ISIS can't pose as a foreign investor in attempt to sway American politics in their favor?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedJanuary 28th, 2015

What is House Bill H.R. 616?

This bill would reform immigration law to make the EB-5 immigrant investor program permanent. Created in 1990 as part of the House of Democrats’ “Make it in America” initiative, this program was designed to boost the U.S. economy through job creation and investment by foreign entrepreneurs, but is set to expire in September of 2016. The Regional Center Program (as the Immigrant Investor Program is also known) grants EB-5 visas to immigrants investing in commercial enterprises associated with designated regional centers in the U.S. in order to stimulate the economy.

In order to apply for these green cards, foreign investors must invest at least one million dollars in a qualified American business or 500,000 dollars in a designated Target Employment Area (TEA) in the U.S. These cover rural areas (“any area outside a metropolitan statistical area or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population over 20,000”) and/or regions of high unemployment (unemployment of at least 150 percent national average). The investor must also plan to create or preserve at least ten permanent full-time jobs (35 hours per week minimum) for American workers within two years of his or her admission into the U.S. as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

In addition to making the EB-5 program permanent, this bill would introduce a host of reforms to improve the program itself. These would include:

  • Eliminating per country limits for employment-based immigrants;

  • Increasing per country limits for family-based immigrants (spouses and children under 21 of investors);

  • Increasing the number of TEAs;

  • Allowing states to make TEA designations;

  • Requiring U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to rule on EB-5 applications within 180 of applicant’s filing unless further information is required;

  • Establishing systems to make Regional Centers more resistant to fraud.

Impact

Foreign investors; foreign entrepreneurs; green card seekers; TEA’s; American businesses; state governments; USCIS; and the unemployed sector.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 616

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) advocated for the economic advantages of maintaining the EB-5 program in January, 2015:

“Our nation has always been at its strongest when we attracted the best and brightest minds to help build and invest in our economy. The EB-5 visa program is an important tool that brings innovation and investment to the United States, and this bipartisan bill will improve and make permanent the program so that foreign investment and talent will continue to flow into our businesses, and strengthen our economy.”

In May, 2014, a group of over 30 commercial organizations echoed their support in a letter to Rep. Polis and cosponsor Rep. Amodei (R-NV):

“In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, we support [EB-5] to help give our country the competitive edge we need to attract foreign investment capital and talent to our shores.”

Senate Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), however, argues otherwise. Referring to state gerrymandering of TEA boundaries to include wealthier, more attractive areas, including Hollywood and Manhattan, he cautions, “It’s hard for smaller states to compete with the glitzy hotels and luxurious condo projects [for investors].”

Critics of the bill point to recent fraud cases of investment misuse as another reason why the EB-5 program should end. In late April, 2016, for instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a criminal complaint against two EB-5 program directors who after raising $350 million from overseas investors for a set of projects in Vermont, allegedly used the money to fund earlier projects. One director was accused of using $50 million of these funds for personal gain. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also found investors with potential ties to Chinese and Iranian intelligence as well as international fugitives using false documents to enter the EB-5 program.

The American Entrepreneurial and Investment Act of 2015 is follow-up bill to last year’s bill under the same name. The program, which was set to expire in September, 2015, was later extended until September, 2016. By making this program permanent, this bill would eliminate the need for any future renewals.

Of Note: Since 2005, the EB-5 program has lead to an investment of over $4.7 billion in qualified projects, creating approximately 95,000 full-time jobs.

Preserved jobs must be in a struggling business that has existed for at least two years and has incurred a net loss equal to at least twenty percent of the business’ original worth. These jobs can either be direct, “identifiable jobs for qualified employees” or indirect jobs created as a result of the invested capital.


Media:

Summary by Meera Santhanam
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons User Dmbronner)

AKA

American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for reforms to the EB-5 immigrant investor program, and for other purposes.

    I'd say that these are sufficient reasons for voting down this bill: "Critics of the bill point to recent fraud cases of investment misuse as another reason why the EB-5 program should end. [snip] The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also found investors with potential ties to Chinese and Iranian intelligence as well as international fugitives using false documents to enter the EB-5 program." http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/controversial-eb-5-immigrant-investor-program-faces-possibility-overhaul These are also good reasons to not support this bill: • Eliminating per country limits for employment-based immigrants;
 • Increasing per country limits for family-based immigrants (spouses and children under 21 of investors).
 Sounds like another Democommie/George Soros open borders ploy to me! IMO, we have FAR too much foreign investment in things that conflict with our national security requirements, such as all the mosques that Saudi Arabia has funded here in America. This is funding CIVILIZATION JIHAD! Incidentally, one Countable member said that migration is a right. Yes, it's a right, but so is NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, which means we don't have to allow in EVERYBODY who wants to come here, nor should we.
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    Why should rich foreigners get special treatment for acquiring visas in a country based on merit?
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    Are these foreign investors veted? If a foreign investor gets involved in American politics, we have a problem. Who's to say ISIS can't pose as a foreign investor in attempt to sway American politics in their favor?
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    what we need is a green card for foreign asylum seekers
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    Why should rich foreigners get special treatment for acquiring visas in a country based on merit?
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    No matter how rich you are, you should go through the same hurdles to immigrate here as anyone else.
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    What a bad idea. This program, "make it in America” initiative, was designed to boost the economy through job creation and investment by foreign entrepreneurs. Many big shot Democrats have used this program for personal benefits and allowing graft. Its set to expire in September of 2016. I support this closing. It has paved the way for the green cards of about 1,200 Chinese millionaires. Also, the Department of Homeland Security watchdog report blasted the agency’s No. 2 official for repeatedly intervening on behalf of well-connected participants in an investor-visa program, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) and Tony Rodham, a brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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    How about we lower taxes and regulations so Americans can start businesses.
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    USA talent before foreign talent
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    It should be eliminated.
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    I voted for you to put a stop to Mr Obama's socialistic, Islamic tolerant and overly politically correct agenda. The time is right now to dig un your heels and fight for what's right. If he is illegally allowed to let potential dem. Voters to pour our borders, our party and our way of life will be lost and generations to come will look at this failure with shock and disappointment. Let him shut it down and blame us. People are intelligent enough to understand. PASS ONLY A CLEAN HOMELAND SECURITY BILL! It's the only thing that will secure our position. Let's not allow this only once in our history opportunity get away! My 2 cents worth... Bob T. Springfield, OH
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    We need to follow the money!
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    What if the investor pulls out?
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    We need to rid our country of foreign investors, not make them here more permanently.
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    Why do they need spiral treatment? Get in line
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    No green cards until all Americans are the
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    They can come in legality not illegally
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    Are we selling permanent residency now? If so, that practice should stop.
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    I presume this encourages offshore companies to set up shop in the USA with their own migrant employees. I am doubtful they are interested in doing so unless our capital gains tax is made favorable.
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    Law applies to everybody, rich, poor or dying. The law is the law......
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