Grassley to Trump: You Can Restore Integrity to EB-5 Visa Program
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley urged President Trump to press for finalization of regulations that would restore integrity to the EB-5 Visa Regional Center program and constrain the rampant fraud, abuse and national security vulnerabilities it presents.
In a letter sent to the President yesterday, Grassley noted that the EB-5 program has “become riddled with fraud and serious vulnerabilities that present real national security concerns,” and strayed severely from its intended purpose of bringing investment to areas that most need it.
For several months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been considering and finalizing regulations that would drastically curtail the amount of fraud and abuse in the program. The proposed regulations would restore Congress’s original intent of focusing investment in low-employment, underserved and rural areas.
Earlier this week, Grassley wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to further urge the finalization and implementation of the EB-5 regulations. In that letter, Grassley once again enumerated some of the many vulnerabilities and instances of abuse that have beset the program.
Grassley has advocated for legislative reforms to the EB-5 program for years. After recent efforts at reform were repeatedly thwarted in Congress by outside interests groups, Grassley stated that the program is “simply too corrupted to be saved, and it needs to be ended.” In the meantime, he and others have pressed for action from DHS. Grassley voiced support for similar regulatory changes to EB-5 during the Obama Administration and has previously called on the Trump Administration to continue those reform efforts.
Full text of Grassley’s letter to the President follows.
June 7, 2018
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for upholding your commitment to farmers and renewable fuels and rejecting a bad deal that would have undermined your promise to uphold the law that calls for 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into our fuel supply. I appreciate it and so do the farmers in Iowa and at least 14 other states.
However, I write to you today regarding the EB-5 program. As I mentioned to you yesterday afternoon, certain EB-5 interest groups are telling investors they have “bought off the White House” and that your Administration will never allow the EB-5 regulations to take effect. These comments are very disturbing, and undermine the American people’s faith in your ability to restore integrity to our immigration system.
For years, I have watched as the EB-5 program has become riddled with fraud and has serious vulnerabilities that present real national security concerns. One of Congress’s core purposes in creating this program—to direct investment to rural and high unemployment areas that struggle to obtain capital and create jobs—has been eroded due to the abusive gerrymandering of economic development incentives by big moneyed Manhattan interests. There are pending regulations which would end this abuse. I have written to Secretary Nielsen, twice, urging her to finalize these changes. To date, nothing has been done. It is my sincere hope that members of your administration have not been influenced by moneyed EB-5 interests, and are not delaying regulations at their behest.
I ask that you please encourage finalization of these changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program. These measures are absolutely critical to restore integrity to our nation’s immigration system. The people who elected you expect these changes so their citizenship isn’t being sold so cheaply. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Charles E. Grassley