Just in time for Christmas, Congress is cooking up a bill to “parole in” 73,000 foreign nationals awaiting green cards.
The legislation — nullifying or watering down new regulations designed to rein in America’s scandal-plagued EB-5 investor-visa system — would blow up the program’s admissions cap, set at 10,000 annually.
The draft bill empowers the Homeland Security secretary to “parole in” all alien investors who had EB-5 applications pending for three years or whose approved petitions are log-jammed by the country-of-origin provisions (primarily Chinese nationals).
Over a three-year period, the DHS secretary could admit 73,000 foreign investors and their family members, on top of the 10,000 annual quota.
This may be a nice present for aliens in the green card queue, but it’s not so great for the rule of U.S. immigration law. Arbitrarily lifting the long-standing EB-5 ceiling invites capricious lawmakers to tinker with other backlogs via administrative fiat.
Worse still, the bill enables EB-5 middlemen who handle foreign nationals’ cash to more easily manipulate “employment areas” for qualified investment. The program’s geographic guidelines are already so loose that investor funds targeted for depressed rural areas have been steered to projects on Wall Street and some of the country’s richest ZIP Codes.
Ironically (or not), the author of the EB-5 bill is Sen. Mike Rounds, who, as governor of South Dakota, presided over one of the program’s most salacious scandals.
Rounds’ “parole” bill only makes a bad situation worse. This is no Christmas gift; it’s a noxious lump of coal.