The Facts Behind the EB-5 Program in the Midst of Media’s Kushner Spin
By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff
Big question – why is every morsel of news you see about the EB-5 program negative? Washington Post calls it a “thorny” program, Bloomberg says it “controversial” and CNN claims the government program has a “fraught political history” and is “selling citizenship to wealthy foreigners.”
The reality is that this highly criticized program has created close to 1 million jobs over about two decades. These are American jobs. The fundamental condition of this program, that seems to be forgotten by the media, is that the investment must create 10 jobs for American citizens or legal residents or no green card is issued.
The program is actually very simple. A business raises money from an immigrant (who wants a green card) and that money gets invested in the United States. If that investment creates 10 American jobs, the immigrant investor is offered permanent residency in the United States.
The media took the EB-5 program for a spin this week after Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer reportedly promoted One Journal Square, a Kushner Companies' development in Jersey City, to investors in China.
And despite all the negative news you hear, the EB-5 program was again given the green light by Congress earlier this month. The reason is that the program is effective and useful for all parties involved.
The EB-5 program has one main purpose – job creation. The program requires that each immigrant investor create at least 10 permanent full-time jobs. Just think about that for a moment. The program is creating jobs for U.S. citizens with foreign capital – it is the ultimate jobs program. Contrary to what some have stated, these investors are not buying a green card, they are making an investment. And as with any investment, if it doesn’t perform there is a price to pay.
If the investment underperforms and the project fails to produce the necessary jobs, the immigrant investor will not receive a permanent green card and will have to leave the country. And yes, that scenario does occur.
A myriad of cities across the country, rural and high density, are benefiting from EB-5 projects. There is a large steel manufacturing facility in rural Arkansas (Pine State) that is successfully utilizing EB-5 funding. After the military closed the Philadelphia Naval Yards, it was EB-5 that helped bring hope, jobs and economic activity back to the abandoned property. In Washington D.C., EB-5 investments helped fund a project that included a neighborhood grocery store and a Cambria Hotel in a downtrodden part of the city. The project was even cited by President Obama as an example of how redevelopment can positively impact a community.
EB-5 has also been used in infrastructure projects such as the Pennsylvania turnpike and high speed rail in Florida. It is too bad that there was not a celebrity aspect to these projects.
These investors are not coming to United States in droves, but through a very selective and thorough application process-same vigorous process any immigrant is subject to. And this process takes years to navigate through with an immigration lawyer, application, and an interview process-all done through the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Immigration office. No one is getting a free pass into the country – it is a long, arduous process even with this investment.
The government has set a maximum allotment of 10,000 visas in the EB-5 program per year. The EB-5 visas are a mere 1 percent of the total number of “legal” immigration into the United States. Here are the facts:
- Of the 10,000 visas offered, 3,500 go to investors and the rest to their immediate family members.
- EB-5 funds equate to about $1.75 billion dollars per year brought into the United States.
- More than 35,000 American jobs per year are created.
It is unfortunate to see media outlets report EB-5 news with a negative spin – as this program is bettering our economy and creating U.S. jobs for our countrymen.