Billions of investment dollars are on the line as members of Congress seek to bridge their differences and save a visa program that is set to expire in October.
Riddled with controversy and fraud, the rapidly expanding -EB-5 investor visa program attracts money from foreign investors by giving them a path to American citizenship.
But the program’s future is uncertain. Power players in the Senate are at loggerheads over how to determine where the money goes, with less than a month to go until the program expires.
Congressional and businesses sources say lawmakers are nowhere close to a deal. Some of EB-5’s biggest critics in Congress are ready to walk away and let the program die without substantial reform.
Lobbyists for coalitions that support the visas say they have no clue what will happen come Sept. 30.
“There’s probably a deal out there somewhere to be made,” said a lobbyist representing businesses that support the visas. “I just don’t have any idea where this is going to end up.”
Created in 1990, the EB-5 program gives visas to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. projects run by government-approved businesses called regional centers. These businesses can range from big-city high-rises and medical centers to rural agriculture and energy farms. When a project is completed, a foreign investor can earn permanent legal status.
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