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The EB-5 visa program: End it

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Saturday, April 7, 2012
 

Few takers and negligible economic benefits should lead Congress to end the EB-5 program, which essentially sells visas to foreign investors otherwise unable to legally enter the United States.

That's what David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies ( cis.org ), concludes in his study of the program.

Capped at 10,000 visas annually, the program issues far fewer, despite requiring investment of as little as $500,000 for as little as two years and creation of just 10 jobs -- too cheap a price for admission, Mr. North says.

At most, it accounts for only 6 cents of every $100 in additional foreign investment annually.

Despite EB-5 promotion, other nations' similar programs draw more takers. EB-5 also loses applicants to a State Department program that extends visas indefinitely for entrepreneurs from nations that have treaties with America.

China doesn't -- and more than half of fiscal year 2010's EB-5 visas went to mainland Chinese.

And with many EB-5 investments going bad, North says, "No one, citizens or aliens, middlemen or workers, or the economy generally, seems to be getting much out of the program."

Congress must recognize that the EB-5 program is simply not worth keeping -- and deny it the three-year renewal it needs to continue past Sept. 30.

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