The EB-5 program deserves to be recognized for what it is: a broad and effective catalyst for U.S. job growth. The media’s obsession with the myth of the EB-5 program as a fast-track green card for the wealthy dominates public perception and fuels the ire of the program’s few, but vocal, opponents. The controversies often center on the program’s few scandals or on the “unfair” advantage given to wealthy investors. Little attention is given to one of the main beneficiaries of the program: the American worker. In 2013 alone, EB-5 regional center investments contributed approximately $1.9 billion to the U.S. economy in foreign direct investment, and supported over 41,000 U.S. jobs (Source: IIUSA).
As the program encounters changes and reforms under proposed legislation, let’s remember that U.S. jobs hang in the balance.
For this issue, we interviewed people across the nation whose jobs stem directly from EB-5 foreign investment. Our aim is to showcase the program’s impact in the lives of thousands of Americans just like the handful that we had the privilege of interviewing. From the CEO of a hospital to an employee at a quick-service restaurant, the faces of these American workers are the face of EB-5.
Instead of allowing fear to dictate our immigration policies, let’s keep focused on the necessity of maintaining a well-curated U.S. presence in the competition for foreign capital. Instead of focusing on the program’s few failures, let’s concentrate on making the program better, improving compliance, and expanding the scope of EB-5 projects. Instead of apologizing for allowing wealthy investors to make a difference in the lives of thousands of Americans, let’s recognize that building the American dream has always and will continue to rely on immigrant contributions.
Providing an avenue for immigrants to invest in American job growth and prosperity is not exactly a groundbreaking idea. America was built on immigrants who were willing to save and sacrifice large amounts of money for the opportunity of living here. The EB-5 program underlines the essence of the American dream: a country where immigrants can not only build a life for themselves, but also make a fundamental impact on the people, their cities, and the nation itself.
Unlike past waves of U.S. immigration, the candidates for EB-5 have many countries vying for their capital. The United States is far from alone in the arena of foreign investor immigration, and more countries are likely to join in the coming years. If we do not embrace and support this program, investors will likely take their capital and talents to countries willing to welcome them.
So let’s allow the faces of the program to speak for themselves, and speak to us, so that we can recognize the value and necessity of this program. We have an urgent need to attract these highly intelligent, skilled and willing investors to build the future of our country – because if we don’t, other countries certainly will.
Ali Jahangiri, CEO