‘Investor Visa’ Probe

Sarah Ryley, The Daily, September 10, 2012

A burgeoning immigration program that gives wealthy foreigners and their families a chance at citizenship if they lay down big cash is under scrutiny by Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Daily has learned.

The agencies are looking into the EB-5 “investor visa,” a program that has generated at least $2.3 billion in financing for hundreds of construction projects nationwide, from a ski resort in Vermont to strip malls in California.

Foreigners both in the U.S. and abroad must generally invest at least $500,000 to receive a temporary visa. If the investment creates 10 jobs after two years, the investors and their family members can apply for permanent residency, and eventually citizenship. If not, they face deportation. Regardless of the outcome, there is no guarantee of repayment.

Since the program was established 22 years ago, immigration officials have approved 12,904 investment visas; the investments have created an estimated 46,810 jobs.

Developers and immigration attorneys have turned the once-obscure EB-5 into a lucrative industry since the recession caused construction financing to dry up, drastically stepping up their recruiting efforts in far-away places, particularly China. The number of foreigners applying for the visa since the start of fiscal year 2008 totaled 12,201, compared with 9,475 in the previous 17 years combined, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the visa granting arm of Homeland Security.


But many projects have gone bust and some are in legal disputes that allege fraud, casting doubt on the immigration agency’s ability to effectively monitor the program. {snip}

Last month, Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General launched an investigation to determine if the program is “effectively administered and managed to detect and deter fraud, waste, abuse, while avoiding national security threats,” according to the internal announcement obtained by The Daily.

The inspector general has received at least one complaint this year asserting management routinely quashed concerns about fraud, according to a copy of the complaint.



Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • The__Bobster


    The law required that immigrants invest $1 million in new or troubled U.S. businesses, or $500,000 in a business located in an area of high unemployment. In many cases, only a small fraction of the total — often just $10,000 per investor — went to the struggling companies. The intent of the law was that each immigrant’s investment would create or preserve at least 10 American jobs. However, some of the faltering companies have closed and laid off workers, with at least one filing for bankruptcy.

  • Similar situation in Michigan . . . 

    A Chinese community is being built in SW Michigan. 

    The community plans to draw 400 business ‘investors’ who will be required to invest $500,000 each in an house or condo and create ten jobs. The scheme is to add 4,000 jobs to an economic depressed area of Michigan. 


    • IstvanIN

       and they only hire Chinese and a few token blacks and Hispanics to stay out of trouble.  They add nothing to the American economy and amount to no more than PRC out posts.

  • Defiant White

    This country needs a giant enema.  The trouble is that there are just so many places to insert the tube that it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Washington DC?   San Francisco?   Portland?   Detroit?  Newark?   Atlanta?

  • KenelmDigby

    Actually, to all those who push the (mistaken) ‘economic case’ for immigration – ie the immigration of sub productivity low educated persons somehow ‘boosts’ the economy, this is the riposte.
    Yes, in certain circumstances, immigration DOES boost the economy (that is, if a proud nation is prepared to sell itself off for cash) – but ony high net worth individuals need apply.

  • The__Bobster

    Vdare says the answer is “all”.

  • Swim a river and drop an anchor baby instead. So much easier…and cheaper.