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Feinstein: End EB-5 visa program to avoid Kushner conflict
20 May 2017, 04:14 | Erica Roy
Wealthy Chinese citizens have been falling over themselves to participate in the EB-5 program, which makes immigrants eligible to apply for a green card if they invest over $500,000 in a project that creates U.S.jobs.
She said that the reports on the Kushner Companies' investment pitch shows there is "a stark conflict of interest for the Trump White House" when it comes to the EB-5 visa program.
Critics have blasted the Kushner Companies' sales pitches in China, saying they are a new example of how the Trump administration is using its position to boost its business interests.
"The proposed One Journal Square project will provide $180 million in tax revenue for Jersey City over the next 30 years, more than 4,000 union construction jobs, and direct funding for a memorial plaza and local arts initiatives, among other benefits", a company spokesman toldHousingWire.
Skeptics of sharply changing the program have a powerful ally in Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from NY, where EB-5 investment is a major driver in real estate development.
Organizers even tried to physically prevent attendees from speaking to the press, but one potential investor did tell WaPo, "Even though this is the project of the son-in-law's family, of course it is still affiliated [with Trump]". It was extended over the weekend when President Trump signed wide-ranging legislation to keep the government running. To do so, they're promoting a program that allows people to pay big money to emigrate to the U.S. "I later heard from another reporter - whotweeted a picture - that there was indeed a picture of President Trump. on a slide that said 'key decision makers'".
Almost 7,000 EB-5 visas were issued to Mainland Chinese investors past year, making them the number one nationality in the allocation, according to State Department data. He's a correspondent for The Washington Post, and he's been reporting on this whole issue stateside. His attorney, Blake Roberts, said Kushner is not involved in the operation of Kushner Companies.
The EB-5 program was created in 1990 to help stimulate the USA economy through job creation and capital investment from foreign nationals, but detractors say it puts citizenship up for sale.
The EB-5 programme has become more controversial as uptake began to surge in recent years, particularly among Chinese investors looking for a faster way to secure U.S. green cards relative to wait times for those seeking visas based on job qualifications.
Subsequently a USA -based publicist for the Kushner Companies sent an email to the Post saying that it "apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors". Qiaowai says on its website (in Chinese only) that the project is the 87th EB-5 project it has marketed in China, and also its second time working with the Kushners.
Watchdogs and ethics experts yesterday criticised the Beijing event as an attempt to cash in on Kushner's newfound proximity to power, it said.
President Trump has made visa reform a central piece of its promised changes to immigration policy. With the clock ticking until the program's new expiration date, September 30, the president has a chance to get behind efforts to end the hopelessly inefficient and corruption-prone EB-5 program before it causes more embarrassment.
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