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Why Congress is hesitating to extend the Immigrant Investor program.

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Last week, federal authorities raided a Los Angeles-area business suspected of organizing a $50,000,000 visa fraud scheme for Chinese immigrants. Allegedly, the business took money from more than 100 Chinese investors for bogus business projects, allowing them to improperly obtain U.S. green cards. Three of the investors were fugitives wanted by the Chinese government.

From California to Vermont, fraud is part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 program), established by Congress in 1990.

The program offers lawful permanent resident status to foreign investors and their families to encourage them to invest in new businesses here that will benefit our economy and create jobs for American workers — but the program is rife with complications.

Has EB-5 achieved its objectives?

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) observed at a recent March hearing on the EB-5 program that it is “riddled with fraud and abuse and has strayed away from the program Congress envisioned when it created the program decades ago.” The program “is in desperate need of reform.”


Published originally on The Hill and previously on

About the author.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    As we reach the landmark of Donald Trump's first 100 days directing an agenda of anti-immigrant hate from the White House, no one will dispute that there have been some well-publicized cases of fraud in the EB-5 program and that reforms are needed.

    But it is important to distinguish between legitimate concerns over the integrity and effectiveness of this program, and a tendency just to use its shortcomings, such as they may be, as a weapon against non-European immigrants in general.

    To put it differently, are critics of EB-5 genuinely interested in improving and reforming this program so it can work better, or is "East Asian investors commit fraud", just one more racial/religious epithet to add to the narrative that we have already heard far too much of in the "Era of Donald Trump" of "South Asian professionals steal American jobs"; "Muslim immigrants are terrorists" ; "Latino immigrants are criminals", etc., all of which recall the spirit of Adolf Hitler's

    "Die Juden sind unser Unglueck!"

    While Nolan Rappaport himself, as a distinguished immigration law scholar with long experience as a policy analyst, is clearly concerned only with pointing out a genuine need for reform in EB-5, and certainly does not subscribe to any of the anti-immigrant and racial/religious rhetoric described above, it is also important to look at history in order to understand the motives of the Trump administration regarding immigration in general during the past 100 days.

    America has been hearing negative stories about Chinese immigrants since the 1880's, when Congress passed the first of the notorious Chinese exclusion laws which are as much of a stain on America's history as the period of slavery and racial segregation against African-Americans.

    Then, in 1924, after the Chinese exclusion laws had been expanded to include most if not all other Asian immigrants, America passed its "Jewish exclusion law", which also barred many other nationalities and ethnic/religious groups of the world in an attempt to make America whiter and more Protestant.

    Trump's AG, Jeff Sessions, had nothing but the highest praise for this law in a January 2015 immigration manifesto for Congressional Republicans, and also in an October 2015 interview with - guess whom - Stephen Bannon himself, in the latter's extreme right wing, anti-immigrant Breitbart News.

    Is this the immigration paradigm we are heading back to in the "New Order" (pardon my wholly intentional "slip" in referring to this notorious German National Socialist slogan - I meant "New Era" ) of Donald Trump's, Jeff Sessions' and Steve Bannon's bigoted, white supremacist, European immigrants only America?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 04-30-2017 at 09:12 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Roger is too quick to see nefarious intentions. Congressional concern about the immigrant investor program is not an attempt to exclude anyone or a plot to restore a European only immigration system.

    I did not find examples of fraud being committed by the investors, Chinese or other nationalities, and I don't recall hearing any claims of such fraud when I watched the video clip of the recent immigrant investor hearing.

    The suggestions I make are intended to ensure that the funds generated by the program go to the types of investments the program is supposed to encourage and that "new" jobs are really being created by the investment money.

    I think the program should be suspended until it can be fixed, and this is consistent with the comment Ranking Member John Conyers made in his hearing statement that he doesn't know whether he can support extending the program if the problems are not fixed, and he is one of the most liberal congressmen on the hill and an ardent supporter of immigration.

    Nolan Rappaport
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Might I respectfully refer the above author of this article and responder to my comment to a recent article in Immigration Daily urging Congress to end the "Fraud-ridden" EB-5 program?

    Coincidentally, that article was also written by someone named Nolan Rappaport.

    It appears to be in direct contradiction to the above comment by the instant Nolan Rappaport, which claims that he is not attributing fraud to this program.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
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