Vermont’s image of being “as pure as the driven snow” helps explain why it took nearly a decade for the state’s EB-5 scandal to come to light, said a longtime critic of the national investment-for-visa program.
“The state has the reputation for being pristine,” said David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. “It wasn’t New Orleans or Chicago, where bad things happen frequently.
“It was Vermont.”
For years, North has argued that the EB-5 program lacks government oversight and allows wealthy foreign families to buy their way into the country. (Five years after receiving a “green card,” EB-5 visa holders can seek U.S. citizenship.)
In 2011, North testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which at the time was chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, that the EB-5 program shouldn’t be reauthorized. Sitting next to him in the Senate committee room that day was Bill Stenger, CEO of Jay Peak Resort, who testified on behalf of reauthorization, which Congress later approved.
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