Regarding the Sept. 7 editorial “The visa giveaway”:
We should not end a program that costs taxpayers nothing and is geared toward job creation for U.S. workers. The EB-5 visa program brings foreign capital into the United States to help public-private partnerships finance myriad development projects across the nation. The program puts Americans to work. It has helped to fund infrastructure, real estate development, energy production, health-care facilities, charter schools, ski resorts, hotels and manufacturing plants, among others.
EB-5 visas have generated $5.2 billion over the eight-year period from 2005 to 2013. In 2013 alone, its $1.6 billion in investments generated a potential 31,000 jobs based on minimum program requirements. To put that into perspective, 12 states have seen fewer than 31,000 new jobs created in the past 12 months.
When the economy started slowing in 2008, EB-5 offered developers a source for moving forward on construction projects when bank loans and federal laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act precluded such lending.
Although the program has had snags, the authors of the legislation to extend the EB-5 regional center program have addressed them and have added provisions to ensure the program’s integrity.
Congress should sustain programs that help create opportunities for businesses, states and municipalities to fund projects and create employment while also pursuing broader immigration reform.
Ali Noorani, Washington
The writer is executive director of the National Immigration Forum.