Visas for wealthy soar under Obama despite fraud concerns

Article subtitle: 
Program for wealthy capitalists increases 700% under Obama
Article author: 
Dave Boyer
Article publisher: 
The Washington Times
Article date: 
29 December 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

While President Obama’s grant of amnesty for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants is drawing furious criticism, a little-known visa program for wealthy foreign investors also is mushrooming on his watch despite a history of fraud and concerns in Congress about potential national security risks.

Since Mr. Obama took office, the number of immigrants entering the U.S. legally under the “EB-5” program has risen nearly 700 percent, from 628 in fiscal year 2008 to 5,115 in fiscal 2014. The number of foreign citizens applying for the visas has grown even faster, from 853 in 2008 to 12,453 in 2014 ...

Kyle Barella, an immigration lawyer in McLean, Virginia, who works with EB-5 applicants, said the program “really boosts the economy.”

“When these investors come here, they send their children to school, they pay their taxes, they buy houses,” he said.

But Mr. Barella said the president’s recent executive action to grant work permits to millions of illegal immigrants has caused enormous resentment among the foreign investors trying to get into the U.S. legally.

“It’s frustrating, and it sends a bad message about incentive,” Mr. Barella said. “Clients are asking, ‘Why should I spend this money the legal way when I can just come over here on a tourist visa, overstay, and in 10 years maybe I’ll get amnesty?’” ...