Fate Of Key Economic Support Program For Illinois Pending
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Congress will soon decide on the fate of an increasingly popular and controversial green card program that has generated millions of dollars in foreign investment in Illinois the past few years.
Lawmakers are expected to extend the 16-year-old the EB-5 program past the September 30 deadline, but will mostly likely change its price and availability, say experts.
The EB-5 initiative allows foreign investors, who devote between $500,000 and at least $1 million to an economic development project and create at least American 10 jobs, to receive a green card that fast-tracks them and their families to United States citizenship.
“I don’t think Congress is going to do anything to stop property development anytime soon,” said Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, author of The Cosmopolites, a book that analyzes the U.S.’ EB-5 program and other countries’ citizenship-by-investment industries.
Illinois does not track how much money has been funneled into the state by EB-5, state officials said.
But in 2013 Illinois ranked 25th in the nation in terms of foreign investment generated through this program, according to the most recent data available from Invest In the USA, a trade association that collects EB-5 data. That year, foreign investors dropped $6.125 million in Illinois through this program, which generated $402,680 in state and local taxes, the center said. From 2011 to 2014, the EB-5 program also created 1,712 new jobs across Illinois, according to research from MB Consulting.