Jared Kushner under fire for US Visa China immigration.

Kushner Family Criticized For Pitching $500,000 ‘Investor Visa,’ What Is The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?

Immigration to America is possible with a $500,000 investment into a U.S. venture. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that wealthy Chinese could secure a place in the United States for a fee of $500,000. This message was delivered at the Ritz-Carlton hotel by Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to a ballroom of wealthy Chinese investors in Beijing on Saturday. Taglines on the brochures at the event delivered a similar message of how a foreign investor can be awarded U.S. citizenship.

“Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

Jared Kushner sister immigration visa eb-5
Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, discusses the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in Beijing on Saturday. [Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

The event was advertised publicly in Shanghai to attract Chinese investment in a U.S. real estate project that has been linked to the family of President Trump’s son-in-law, according to Reuters. However, it was reported that a worker barred Washington Post journalists from entering the main function room, “Sorry, this is a private event.” The event took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai.

Guests at the event said Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, spoke for about 10 minutes, which included an inspirational talk about her family’s humble beginnings. According to the New York Times, Meyer attended a similar event in Beijing and told the audience of about 100 people the project “means a lot to me and my entire family.”

One Journal Square is a two-tower luxury apartment complex in New Jersey, which is currently being developed by KABR Group and the Kushner Companies. The companies were recently lead by senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, the husband of President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, according to Reuters.

The developers are seeking to raise $150 million (or 15.4 percent of funding) for the project. This would be carried out from investors through the heavily criticized EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 program awards foreign investors a path to citizenship in exchange for investments of at least $500,000 in American development projects, according to the New York Times. The information obtained is according to marketing materials posted by the immigration agency, Qiaowai — the event’s organizer.

Blake Roberts, an attorney at the WilmerHale law firm, who also serves as Kushner’s personal counsel, said Kushner’s interests in the One Journal Square project have been sold to a family trust in which he is not a beneficiary of.

“Mr. Kushner divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he is not a beneficiary of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics. As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program.”

The EB-5 program awards foreign investors a path to citizenship in exchange for investments of at least $500,000 in American development projects, according to the New York Times. The information obtained is according to marketing materials posted by the immigration agency, Qiaowai — the event’s organizer.

What Is The EB-5 Visa Program?

In March of 2016, Bloomberg reported that the program has been used to the benefit both the Trump and Kushner family businesses. Jared Kushner raised $50 million from Chinese EB-5 applicants for a Trump-branded apartment building in Jersey City, according to the report per The Chicago Tribune.

The EB-5 program was intended to be a path to permanent U.S. residency for foreigners who invested a minimum of $500,000 in U.S. projects that create American jobs, according to Forbes.

EB-5 allows foreign investors to get a green card in exchange for a $500,000 to $1 million investment, but the program (which originated in the 1990’s) has fallen under federal scrutiny in more recent years. The controversial EB-5 program allows wealthy foreigners to, technically, buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.

One issue surrounding the program is the minimum investment, which is now $500,000 for developments in targeted areas of high unemployment (or TEA). In other parts of the country, the investment needs to be up to $1 million dollars.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the required minimum investments are as follows.

  • General: The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
  • Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.

The DHS, under former President Barack Obama, proposed to raise the minimum threshold to $1.35 million in a TEA and $1.8 million in other places. Arnstein & Lehr partner Ronald Fieldstone said the department’s proposal was a negotiation ploy “that would almost end the program.”

In Cleveland alone, the EB-5 visa program has helped economically by aiding in the construction of hotels, hospital expansions, grocery stores, and other downtown renovations. Stephen Koff, Washington bureau chief reports that EB-5 investors poured $45 million into the first phase of the Flats East Bank project in 2010, $36 million into downtown Cleveland’s Westin Hotel, and about $36.5 million into Crocker Park retail, and housing expansion.

[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/AP Images]

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