Cristina Corbi, Fox News, December 4, 2013
U.S. immigration officials are considering a proposal from Chinese investors to create a multibillion-dollar development in New York’s Catskills called “China City”–raising concerns among critics about the potential cost to U.S. taxpayers and, according to one analyst, the possibility it could be a “stalking horse” for the Beijing government.
A spokesman from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told FoxNews.com that the proposal for Thompson, N.Y., has not been approved but is under consideration.
The mysterious proposed development appears to be a step beyond the types of ethnic enclaves scattered throughout U.S. cities, like the Chinatown sections of New York City or San Francisco. The 600-acre “China City of America” is located far outside New York City in upstate New York’s wetlands and is a meticulously planned project, calling for family housing, a college and student residences, among other structures. In addition to needing federal approval, it would likely need a host of state and local permits before ground could be broken.
If approved, every province in China would have an office there and foreign investors funding the development would receive green cards for their $500,000 checks under the EB-5 program designed to lure foreign investment, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative organization staunchly opposed to the project.
A detailed report authored by David North, a fellow with the Washington-based group, claimed there is “a charge from within the Chinese community that China City is a stalking horse for the Chinese communist government in Beijing.” He claimed he was told one group raised objections with the USCIS.
“It’s a perfect storm of problems,” North told FoxNews.com, citing what he called dubious job creation claims by the promoters as well as national security concerns. North noted that the developers claim 20 percent of the funding would come from U.S. taxpayers, which he said was a “pipe dream.”
Local officials did not respond to requests for comment. But a videotape of a public meeting held in Thompson in May, available on YouTube, addressed the proposal and underscored the controversy surrounding the development. Supporters of the project, in an economically depressed area of Sullivan County, say they believe it would offer both a financial and cultural boon to the region.