What’s All the Fuss About?
by Jeff Campion
In recent months, the EB-5 Regional Center
program has come under attack with allegations
of misuse, fraud, and even claims that the program
has been infiltrated by Iranian agents. With so
much recent talk about the program in the media,
I thought it would be helpful to ask why there is
such a negative view of the EB-5 program.
Much of the criticism has come from members of the
Republican Party. It is tempting to think of this issue as yet another partisan fight, but I, too, am a Republican and have seen
how a healthy EB-5 program has benefitted and will continue
to benefit our country. I am not writing to criticize along party
lines, but rather to outline the most recent issues posed, ask
whether they are justified, and look for solutions.
The interrogation of the EB-5 program is spearheaded by
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the
Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Grassley sent his latest letter
on EB-5 to John Sandweg, acting director of the Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of
Homeland Security, on Dec. 12, 2013. Therein, Sen. Grassley
highlighted issues raised in a recent memo by the Homeland
Security Investigations (HSI) arm of ICE. In the letter, he states
his alarm at documentation that appears to indicate Iranian
operatives used the EB-5 program to try to obtain visas for their
associates. Sen. Grassley implies that the EB-5 program is more
vulnerable to such attacks than other visa options. Ultimately,
the memo concludes that the regional center program should
be left to expire.
E B 5 I n v e s to r s M ag a z i n e