Visa-for-Sale Program Riddled With Fraud

POLIZETTE — A Washington think tank released a map on Monday showing more than 40 development projects across the country marred by scandal involving a program that gives foreigners and their families permanent U.S. residency in exchange for investments.

From California to New York, the cases involve both state and federal criminal prosecutions, as well as civil cases and terminated projects prompted by fraud allegations.

The report by the Center for Immigration Studies comes as Congress debates whether to renew the EB-5 visa program, which is set to expire Sept. 28. The research by the think tank shows legal problems tied to the visa — ranging from a mysterious death in South Dakota to numerous fraud allegations included in criminal indictments and investor lawsuits.

“It shows the programs are subject to fraud in many parts of the country,” said Center for Immigration Studies Fellow David North, who has closely studied the program.

The visa law has two main provisions. The first grants permanent residency to any foreigner who buys or starts a business worth more than $1 million. But that provision, which is not set to expire, is rarely used. The more common provision, up for debate, allows residency in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in a development project that creates at least 10 jobs and meets certain other criteria.

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