Shocking reports from whistleblowers at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggest that a special visa program for rich investors is rife with dangerous errors and serious omissions. The particular program is known as the EB-5 visa, which provides a fast track to residence for investors who can either create jobs or inject substantial cash into the ailing economy of the United States.
As reported by investigative journalists on assignment for ABC News, five DHS whistleblowers have come forward with troubling descriptions of various EB-5 visa applications that were approved despite serious concerns about the backgrounds of the immigrants requesting them. The suspicious applicants had alleged connections to money laundering, fraud, and even child pornography.
According to ABC News, the United States Customs and Immigrations Services (USCIS) officers who reviewed the EB-5 visa applications were aware of the red flags but continued with the process and granted approval anyway. This special category of immigrants must either invest $500,000 into a proven business project or create a minimum of 10 jobs before they are expedited for a green card. Immigrants who obtain residency through employment or the EB-5 program can also sponsor their families.
While the EB-5 program was envisioned in the mid-1990s, this special visa did not become well-known until the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble precipitated the Great American Recession and the global financial crisis in 2008. Massive layoffs and multiple bankruptcies left the U.S. economy in shambles, and many advocates of the EB-5 program highlighted the potential benefits of job creation and capital investment that could be realized with this special visa.
Marketing of the EB-5 program has been a success; in 2011, nearly 4,000 applications were filed, and the program actually hit its cap last August. The EB-5 application process is a bit intricate and generally requires the assistance of legal experts on immigration proceedings; however, the ABC News report seems to indicate that USCIS is certainly putting these applications on the fast track.
In the past, detractors of the EB-5 program have suggested that the USCIS is essentially selling green cards to wealthy foreigners while most other immigrants have to deal with long waiting times and mountains of Kafkaesque red tape. This report about USCIS irregularities is bound to give critics even more grounds for criticism.
If you have questions about any of the E class visas or are interested in learning how to properly apply for an EB-5 visa, reach out to KS Visa Law today and schedule a complimentary immigration consultation with one of our professional immigration attorneys. Call 858-874-0711- we’re here to help.