The massive $20 billion Hudson Yards project is one of the nation’s biggest development efforts. When it’s completed on New York’s west side, it will have have 5,000 apartments, six skyscrapers, and pneumatic tubes for trash disposal. And one more feature of the project: It has paved the way for the green cards of about 1,200 Chinese millionaires.
How’s that? Via what’s known as the EB-5 “Immigrant Investor” program, which allows foreigners to get a green card if they invest a certain amount of money to create jobs in the United States. In effect, rich people can buy American citizenship, and that’s made it controversial in an era of wariness about immigration.
Now, Congress is looking at ways to reform the program, even as parts of it are set to expire September 30.
Foreign interest in the EB-5 program has grown dramatically in the last few years. Applications were sluggish until the recession, Yale-Loehr said. But then, when domestic financing for construction projects was tough to find, some developers started to look overseas for financing.