Donald Trump promised that he would eliminate H-1B visa abuse on his first day in office, though that never happened, with him being a major user of business users. He ordered that no quarter be given to illegal immigrants from Mexico and further south, deporting even those who have made a substantial contribution to this country.
Yet he, like his predecessor, has a soft spot for immigration fraud committed via EB-5 visas, used for immigrant investors, with green cards (permanent residence) being the carrot. They are given to those who promise to hire at least ten employees, but they do not have to be Americans: "A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States including, but not limited to, a conditional resident, a temporary resident, an asylee, a refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation."
There is no minimum salary, so the required ten employees can be paid minimum wage, with them only required to work at least 35 hours per week, i.e. benefits are optional.
Required minimum investments are $1 million with no restriction or $500,000 "within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States."
A green card is a "permanent resident card" and is the usual step before citizenship. Naturalization can occur if one has "been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements" or has "been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen."
According to Iowa Senator Charles Grassley: "Jobs created are not 'direct' and verifiable jobs. They instead are 'indirect' and based on vague estimates and economic modeling ... Investment funds are not adequately vetted, and there are no prohibitions against foreign governments owning or operating regional centers ... background checks aren't required for anyone associated with a regional center ... the minimum investment level hasn’t been raised in 25 years."
Senator Grassley and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a major cheerleader for EB-5 visas and outsourcing in general, and the Real Estate Roundtable, a major cheerleader for and user of EB-5 visas, informing them that the two Senators are well aware of their backroom deal which was "aimed at pre-empting the new rules."
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is "limited in its ability to prevent fraud or national security threats that could harm the U.S." due to the abuse of EB-5 visas because its hands have been tied by Congress and lobbyists thereof.
Jared Kushner, top White House adviser and husband of Ivanka Trump, is waist-deep in Trump's swamp, having facilitated the issuance of EB-5 visas to Chinese businessmen -- in FY2015, 93% of EB-5 visas were given to investors from Asia, with 84% given to ones from China -- who invested in Kushner Companies' real estate ventures, assisted by his sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer. One previous property was Trump Bay Street, a 50-story luxury apartment building in New Jersey.
Kushner sold his stake in One Journal Square project, which is less than three miles from Manhattan, though he and his wife still benefit from other projects. His sister is intentionally conflating the many Kushner Companies projects to fool investors. Brochure and posters for One Journal Square read, "Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States" and "Supported by the government, created by a star developer," and touted EB-5 immigration as "peace of mind."
"Nicole Meyer, when she stood in that room, made sure that people knew that she was part of this Kushner family, that her brother was in the administration," said Javier Hernandez, the New York Times' China correspondent. Hernandez and other reporters were ejected from the event.
The event's organizer, immigration agency Qiaowei, also known as QWOS, made note of Meyer's relationship to Trump and called her the event's "heavyweight honored guest."
Senator Grassley noted that during Obama's two terms in office, "there [was] a remarkable increase in the amount of foreigners using this visa program." Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham, also benefitted from EB-5 visas.
Senator Grassley and California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to kill the EB-5 visa, with the latter calling it "inherently flawed" though Congress renewed it through Sept. 30.
"It says that U.S. citizenship is for sale. It is wrong to have a special pathway to citizenship for the wealthy while millions wait in line for visas. I agree that the time has come to end EB-5," said Senator Feinstein.
This is what we saw with Hillary Clinton, selling favors to foreigners via the Clinton Foundation. Trump needs to make good on his promise to clean-up the swamp, starting with his own family.