The problems plaguing our broken immigration system are no secret to many Americans, but most people probably have never heard of one particular immigration program that may be a legal gateway into America for foreign criminals, spies and terrorists.
The program, known as EB-5, allows foreign investors to purchase visas for a $500,000 or million dollar “investment” in the U.S. economy. EB-5 was originally intended to stimulate the economy and create jobs, but whistleblowers and agency watchdogs have shown the program has legitimate fraud, abuse and national security risks.
An internal audit at the Department of Homeland Security determined that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) was unable to demonstrate the benefits of foreign investment into the U.S. economy, nor could it verify whether the program actually created the jobs the agency claims. Additionally, there are serious concerns that USCIS does not adequately verify the documentation and source of funds from investors. One intelligence report underscored the program’s weaknesses, including money laundering and use by foreign governments and terrorists.
I began looking at the EB-5 program more than 18 months ago after whistleblowers brought me their concerns. Now this program is up for reauthorization this year, and I will be leading reforms in that process. You can watch my comments about this program in an ABC News story here.