Rubbing Salt into One Set of EB-5 Wounds

By David North on February 13, 2019

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has just made a bad decision on the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program that much worse.

It was bad enough when Judge Emmet Sullivan, sitting in the U.S. District Court for D.C., ruled that an alien could get an investor's visa with borrowed funds, as opposed to having to use his or her own money. The usual sum in the EB-5 program is $500,000 and it usually winds up helping to fund a big-city real estate development, often a glitzy one; the money rarely goes into a depressed area, which was supposed to be the point of the program.

As far as many of us are concerned, it is bad policy to sell visas to rich aliens who buy them with their own money; to extend that privilege to those who borrow the half-million is ridiculous. The half-million, incidentally, does not provide just one visa; it provides a family-sized set of them for the investor, the investor's spouse, and their children.

But it gets worse.

USCIS has just announced that, as a result of the judge's ruling, there is now a class of rich aliens who may have been denied green cards because they borrowed the money for their investment, a class of aliens who may get their visas anyway, as a result of further actions by the court.

So it is not just the rich aliens in the case before Judge Sullivan (Zhang et al. v. USCIS) who may get this benefit, it sounds like any alien, who at any time was denied an EB-5 visa on the grounds that the money involved was a loan may now be eligible for the benefit.

The feds have appealed the decision, but the courts' usually helpful PACER documents system would not, at least today, provide any further information.

May the feds prevail!