When the lame-duck Congress stumbled out of town earlier this month, lawmakers blew through yet another self-imposed deadline for cleaning up a controversial visa program that critics say could even become a pathway for terrorists into the U.S. — dropping the problem in the lap of President-elect Trump and a newly elected House and Senate to fix next year.
Critics say the EB-5 program, dubbed a “Golden visa” by immigration lawyers because it provides an expedited path for wealthy foreign investors to gain admission to the U.S., has been rife with widespread fraud and political corruption, including a scandal that touched the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security.
Yet Congress just renewed the EB-5 visa, without any reforms, for another four-and-a-half months as part of the year-end stopgap spending bill.
“After another year, we have yet another missed opportunity,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, the lead of a group of lawmakers who say the program needed an overhaul or else should be allowed to lapse.
“The EB-5 regional center program has been plagued by fraud and abuse,” he said. “It poses significant national security risks. There are serious allegations that the program may be facilitating terrorist travel, economic espionage, money laundering and investment fraud.”
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