The U.S. Customs and Immigration Services recently rejected a number of petitions filed by foreign investors in the EB-5 program. As a result, 23 investors have sued USCIS in federal court, stating that the United States denied them residency after they spent $11.5 million in investments.
The EB-5 visa allows foreign aliens, who would otherwise be ineligible, to obtain green cards for themselves and their families by investing in government-approved business programs. An investment of $500,000 is expected to create 10 jobs in the U.S. workforce.
The investors have already put money into a warehouse conversion deal in Riverside, California, but jobs associated with the warehouse have yet to be created.
“It is not appropriate to take credit for the employment impacts created by unrelated business ventures of future tenants,” USCIS declared.
Many of the official documents are sealed in federal court, and thus many of the details are still unknown.
“What is clear is that the aliens are investing in the purchase of, and, to a lesser extent, the renovation of a warehouse, and that they are claiming that the jobs that need to be created to activate the visas will come from firms moving into the new development,” David North wrote in a Center for Immigration Studies article. “This process, called ‘tenant occupancy’ is a controversial one, and many critics say that it is wrong to give an investor credit for creating jobs when all the investor has done is to house – not fund – the new jobs.”
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