As a part of the Trump administration’s hardline approach to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are calling for a reevaluation of the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program which they say the CCP could be taking advantage of.
“Although the EB-5 program’s goal of stimulating capital investment and job creation in the United States is laudable, it has become clear in recent years that the CCP may be abusing the program to gain access to U.S. permanent residency for their members,” Reps. Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Penn.), said in a letter to Gene Dodaro, U.S. comptroller general and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Under the EB-5 program, individuals can apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States if they invest a certain amount of money in a commercial business in the country and create or, in some cases, preserve 10 full-time jobs for legal U.S. workers.
In the letter, Jordan and Reschenthaler said that between 2012 and 2018, 80 percent of the EB-5 investor visas went to Chinese-born investors. Once granted, the visa would serve as a way to ensure American residency for the investor’s entire family.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) June 15, 2020
Jordan and Reschenthaler say the request for a review is in line with President Donald Trump’s updated strategy on China, which aims to “protect the American people, homeland and way of life.”
Trump has taken a number of steps to curb the spread of the CCP virus and its harmful effects on the U.S. economy, including banning travel from China. In April, the president signed an executive order “temporarily suspending immigration” in an effort to protect American jobs and livelihoods as the country reopens the economy.
Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced a variety of measures to increase pressure on China for its handling of the virus. In May, House Republicans formed a “China Task Force” to “reinforce Congressional efforts to counter current and emerging cross-jurisdictional threats from China.”
Although the GAO has reviewed the EB-5 program for fraud before, Republicans say it did not examine national security concerns associated with the program, noting that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not currently able to deny or revoke country visas on the basis of a national security risk.
“As Congress reevaluates our relationship with the People’s Republic of China, the time is ripe for GAO to again examine the EB-5 program,” the letter states.
The congressmen are requesting that the GAO report on a number of concerns about the EB-5 Visa program, including on the USCIS procedures to detect fraud and China’s efforts to avoid fraud detection, the number of times the CCP has used the program to get its members U.S. visas, the gaps in USCIS ability to consider national security when processing EB-5 visas, and how much money has the CCP and its affiliates invested into the visa program.