"Give me your tired, your poor, but also your well-heeled foreign investors willing to lay out half a million dollars or so to get a green card." - Emma Lazarus, from "New Colussus," on the Statue of Liberty
That, essentially, is what the developers of Attleboro's new New England Sports Village are promoting with their pitch to get money from overseas under a little-known but controversial federal government policy known as the EB-5 program. The program grants foreign nationals green cards - residency visas allowing them to live and work in the United States and permitting them to apply for citizenship after five years - if they invest at least $500,000 in a job-creating program.
The developers of the sports complex have teamed up with a firm established by some powerful political players, including John Ashcroft, former U.S. attorney general in the Bush administration and former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Michael Sullivan, to find investors for the future expansion of the multi-million athletic complex now under construction on Commerce Way, once the site of a proposed business-industrial park.
While the program has been used to raise $150 million for a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., $180 million for the George Washington Bridge bus terminal in New York City, a trade center in Savannah, Ga., and a $600 million Hudson Yardsdevelopment in New York, among other projects, it's also come under fire by members of Congress.
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