Key part of US residency program for investors set to expire

WASHINGTON (AP), A program that allowed wealthy foreign investors to get U.S. residency may soon be ending. It has been long criticized as a wholesale sale of American citizenship.After the Senate failed to address long-standing concerns over inadequate regulation, Congress' authorization for a key component of the immigrant investors program was due to expire Wednesday. There are no prospects of renewal.Bipartisan legislation would have established new regulations for a portion of the program that handles the bulk of visa applications. It allows money from overseas investors, to be pooled to fund large projects in the U.S., which often include high-end real property.The effort was thwarted by Lindsey Graham, the Republican Senator of South Carolina. He objected to the bill's passage through the Senate with unanimous consent. This angered the two senior Republican lawmakers and the Democratic legislators who wrote the legislation.After Graham's objection, a small group of corrupt and big money interests have now stated that they would prefer to kill the program than to have to accept integrity programs intended to curb their bad behavior.Graham spokesperson Kevin Bishop stated that the South Carolina Republican needed more time, despite the imminent deadline. He wants to reach a long-term agreement with all parties to ensure that the program is successful and preserves its integrity.Despite bipartisan support for the bill, there are no guarantees that it will be revived or restored without any changes to the authorization. The overall program is being questioned by lawmakers and Republicans have been increasingly anti-immigration.U.S. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is a Department of Homeland Security component that administers the investment Visa program. It stated in a statement that they were assessing the impact of the lapse of authorization.Continue the storyIt also stated that it is looking at administrative measures to modernize and protect the integrity of the EB-5 program.It stated that the agency supports the EB-5 program because of the many benefits it offers in boosting employment, the economy, as well as in helping distressed communities receive foreign capital investment in the United States.The program was created by Congress to stimulate investment from abroad and job growth during recession 1990.It required a $1 million investment or $500,000 to create at least 10 jobs in high poverty areas. Investors from overseas were granted temporary residency in exchange for their immediate family members and the possibility of applying later for citizenship.Congress also permitted money from visa applicants to go into regional centers that would finance large investments. These centers could include many businesses. This was done to encourage growth in rural or poor areas.The EB-5 program allowed for the creation of maps of regions that only included pockets of poverty. Funds are used to finance luxury real-estate projects in New York City, Miami and the San Francisco Bay Area. This is contrary to the program's intent, critics claim.This program grants 10,000 visas per year to wealthy foreigners, mostly from China and other parts Asia. According to David North, a Senior Fellow at Center for Immigration Studies, who testified before the Senate on the subject, relatively few people set up EB-5 enterprises. The pooled funds are the best option.Apart from the obvious selling of citizenship, the program was repeatedly marred by scandal. Authorities have attempted to increase surveillance of foreign investors, their sources and proposed investment projects. Federal court recently ruled against a Trump administration directive to increase the required investment.North stated that this program contains every possible scam and is available to all players.However, it has its defenders. Professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School Steve Yale-Loehr said that EB-5 offers valuable benefits to the U.S. In light of our efforts to boost the economy following the pandemic it was particularly disappointing that the Senate did not extend the program.