We refer to a freshly introduced bill co-sponsored by Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. Their proposal would abolish the EB-5 visa program, which began a quarter-century ago as a well-intentioned plan to attract international capital to the United States, but has morphed into a scandal-ridden embarrassment. The program awards permanent residency to a maximum of 10,000 foreigners per year who agree to pump at least $500,000 into a U.S. business, creating at least 10 jobs directly or indirectly. In September 2015, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that 44,000 people, a third of whom are foreign investors and the rest family members, had qualified for visas since the program began in 1992. A disproportionate number of those admitted recently come from communist China, whose nontransparent economy makes the origins of their wealth difficult to trace. A 2015 Government Accountability Office report found that the Department of Homeland Security lacked the capacity to vet EB-5 applicants from China and elsewhere adequately, let alone in the “extreme” manner now in vogue at the White House.
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