It’s time for the corporate visa giveaway to go away
An immigrant holds a flag while waiting for a naturalization ceremony to become a U.S. citizen.
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, the federal government launched the so-called EB-5 visa program under which foreigners who pump a minimum of $500,000 into a U.S. business, creating at least 10 jobs directly or indirectly, qualify for permanent resident status. The theory was that offering a place in the United States would encourage investment and boost the economy. In practice, the program has flopped. The right way to mark its anniversary is for Congress to let it expire when its authorization runs out Sept. 30.
EB-5 has shown paltry results — to the extent the results can be measured at all, given the basic imprecise nature of measuring job “creation.” Last year, a Brookings Institution report estimated that 8,500 foreign investors had received visas since the program’s inception, along with about twice that number of family members. In return, the U.S. economy got 85,500 full-time jobs and approximately $5 billion in investment. This sounds impressive — until you consider that the U.S. labor force includes more than 150 million people and that the United States gets more than $200 billion in foreign investment annually.
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