U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) supports the economic goals of the EB-5 program, but says reform is needed to curb the threat Chinese investors represent to national security. He claims they “may be abusing the program… to steal intellectual property and state secrets.” While he fails to provide evidence, he says that China’s accountability for COVID-19 is good reason to search for Chinese abuse of EB-5.
Are Chinese EB-5 investors a national security threat?
U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) believes so. The former Navy veteran and judge is lobbying for EB-5 reforms, with a particular focus on stopping potential Chinese “abuse” of the program. In a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General, he makes a vague yet pointed attack of Chinese EB-5 involvement: “Although the EB-5 program’s goal of stimulating capital investment and job creation in the United States is laudable, it has become clear in recent years that the CCP may be abusing the program to gain access to U.S. permanent residency for their members.” Reschenthaler doesn’t use hard facts or examples to support his claim that it is “clear” Chinese EB-5 “abuse” may be happening. Instead, he points to disproportionately high Chinese activity in the program, and Chinese acceptance of longer wait times, as being good reason for suspicion. During the period of 2012 to 2018, Chinese investors used up 80% of the program’s visas; and retrogression is causing Chinese nationals to wait over a decade for a Green Card.
Focusing on COVID-19 and China
Instead of actual examples of Chinese abuse of the immigrant investor program, Reschenthaler shifts attention to China’s role in the pandemic: “As Americans continue to suffer from the deadly coronavirus pandemic, Congress and the Trump administration must hold the CCP accountable for its lies and inaction. Consistent with this goal, we write to request that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the extent to which the CCP is abusing the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.” We’re not sure how a global pandemic is related to Chinese wrong doing in EB-5, but Reschenthaler seems confident there’s a connection. Never let logic and evidence get in the way of a good witch-hunt.
China’s motivation for allegedly abusing EB-5
While Reschenthaler’s evidence for his claims are hazy at best and non-existent at worst, he is clear in his reason for making such an investigation: “The EB-5 program could be utilized by the CCP and other bad actors to enter the U.S. and steal intellectual property and state secrets, interfere in our democratic institutions, and engage in other nefarious acts.” So, the program could be used by the Chinese for the wrong reasons.
Reschenthaler: USCIS can’t deny petitions because of a national security threat
Further, Reschenthaler stirs up concern by saying that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not have the authority to deny an EB-5 petition because of a threat to national security. It seems he’s not aware of the USCIS Policy Manual, Chapter 3 – Immigrant Membership in Totalitarian Party: “In general, any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible.” Reschenthaler goes on to say that the USCIS needs more funding for new fraud detection and possibly more officers. He’s calls it “critical” that Congress reform the program. In this — without the inflammatory Chinese-abuse allegations — he is on side with many advocates of EB-5, including IIUSA. EB-5 can — and should be — improved. Let’s just be reasonable about the reasons why and not unfairly call out certain countries without facts and evidence. See the Homeland Preparedness News article “Congress must reform EB-5 immigration program to ensure national security, lawmaker says”