New Investor Visa Program Picks Up Steam Under Obama Administration

Even before President Obama announced his jobs plan this month, DHS was hard at work behind the scenes on a revamp of the EB-5 investor visa program. The investor visa program began with the idea that foreign investors would set up a business in the U.S. and hire employees here, and in exchange they would receive a green card.

Following DHS’s decision to “streamline” the EB-5 process, there has been a blizzard of activity by U.S. lawyers and other promoters of the visas organizing conferences and touting new ventures targeted especially at Chinese investors.

The mechanics of the EB-5 visa program have morphed into a very different approach to attract foreign investors than when the program was created. Instead of setting up an actual business, most EB-5 investors place their money with a DHS approved “regional center” – which could be a private investment firm but can also be the arm of a regional, state, or local economic development agency.

EB-5 money is being used not only for investing in new small businesses but is also now being pooled with other investors in large ones such as the new arena for the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise.

Foreign investors looking for a fast-track to residency should examine the track record of the program. An investigation by Reuters last December revealed that barely half of EB-5 applicants eventually got a green card.

The program also raises troubling questions about whether the U.S. is putting residency up for sale. And given the recent history of government directed investment, is it really wise to assume that taxpayer money isn’t involved in loan guarantees or other ways? Furthermore, As Michelle Malkin noted in her column last weekend, “If the feds can’t be trusted to invest government subsidies wisely in American companies, how can they possibly determine which overseas investors will be successful here?”

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. Pingback: US residency up for sale through investor visa programs « Refugee Resettlement Watch

  2. avatar

    Why is anyone surprised that so much underhanded action is going on to suppress the American workers. Obama is giving away America one illegal immigrant at a time and we are not doing anything to stop it, thanks to the Democrats and all the open border, pro amnesty supporters and the Sanctuary cities all over the US.. Goodbye America – welcome Mexico. The Drug Cartels did okay placing their illegals all over this country.

  3. avatar

    What is the price to sell out our country? This reminds me of the answer Rick Perry gave Michelle Bachmann at the second debate. Replying to her statement,, the Governor replied, “I’m offended if you think i’d sell out for $5 million dollars.” My next question would have been “Then what WOULD you sell out for, Mr. Perry?”I would ask the same question of this administration and the DHS.

    • avatar

      It wouldn’t be for much more. Maybe 9 mil. Enough to buy a nice beach front ranch in Mexico. Retire with full pension for life, free medical etc etc. Oh yes, the pols know how to take care of number 1 .And it aint America or Americans!