Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 2:00 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the EB-5 investor visa program, which – while intended to create jobs and inject capital into the U.S. economy – has become plagued with fraud and abuse and poses significant national security concerns.
Under the EB-5 program, foreign nationals, as well as their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, are eligible to apply for a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in American businesses and create or preserve 10 jobs for U.S. workers.
Over the years, the EB-5 program has been plagued by fraud and abuse. For example, the minimum investment amounts have not been increased since the program’s creation in 1990, which has limited the program’s ability to meet its mission of boosting the U.S. economy. Additionally, regional centers gerrymander targeted employment areas around poor areas in order to come in at a lower investment level that was intended to incentivize investments in rural and distressed urban areas, even when investing in luxury high-rises in affluent areas. Various agencies and government watchdogs have also identified national security concerns with this program, including economic espionage, use by foreign government agents and terrorists, and money laundering.
Witnesses for this hearing are:
- Mr. Nicholas Colucci, Chief, Immigrant Investor Program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Ms. Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Government Accountability Office
- Ms. Jeanne Calderon, Clinical Associate Professor, Stern School of Business
- Mr. Matt Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, E3 Investment Group
Below is a statement from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on this hearing.
Chairman Goodlatte: “While I support the overall goal of the EB-5 investor visa program, it is currently riddled with fraud and abuse and has strayed further and further away from the program Congress envisioned when creating the program a quarter century ago. The facts make it clear that this program is in desperate need of statutory and regulatory reform. At the minimum, the investment amount should be increased, gerrymandering should be curtailed, and national security concerns should be addressed in order to reform this troubled program.
“At tomorrow’s hearing, academic experts, participants in the investor visa program, and government officials will testify regarding the numerous problems facing the EB-5 program. While the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill did not contain the commonsense, bipartisan, and bicameral reforms to the EB-5 program that I collaborated on with Representatives Conyers, Issa, and Lofgren and Senators Grassley and Leahy, we will continue working towards strengthening the integrity of this immigration program. The program’s benefits to the American economy could increase dramatically if it were reformed.”
This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at https://judiciary.house.gov/. Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally-credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.