How Could Trump’s Immigration Proposal Affect the EB-5 Program?

Published: May 20, 2019
Updated: May 29, 2019

With immigration leading the conversation in politics, now is the best time to call on Congress to improve the EB-5  Immigrant Investor Program.

President Donald Trump plans to lay out an immigration proposal that would dramatically reshape the legal immigration system in the United States. Part of his goal is to unify Republicans on the issue and establish a legitimate starting point for negotiations with the Democrats. This plan also favors the EB -5 system.

It is a plan developed by the senior adviser and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has developed EB-5 projects, himself. It’s designed to scale back the system of family-based immigration, known as “chain immigration,” and lean towards a more “merit-based” immigration system, favoring skills and education. However, it does not currently address the number of people allowed to legally migrate to the United States.

Below are the elements of the proposal according to an NPR report:

  • Securing the border: Finishing the border wall
  • Protecting American wages: Stemming the flow of low-wage labor
  • Attract and retain the best and brightest immigrants
  • Prioritize nuclear families: It would limit which family members can come to the country to children and spouses
  • Import labor for critical industries
  • Preserve humanitarian values: Keep asylum system, but limit it

The plan does not address the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. or the roughly 3.6 million “Dreamers.” The so-called “Dreamers” are the young people who were illegally brought into the country as young children, but have grown up in the United States. The distinction is quite clear between the political parties. Republicans seek to limit the total immigration numbers, and the Democrats seek to focus on the illegal immigrants in the country. Neither of these topics are discussed in the proposal, as of now.

The proposal is seen by some as more of a political campaign tool than an actual legislative proposal. From what we are hearing “on the street,” Trump officials say that it is geared towards making this a Republican plan, rather than seeking to get bipartisan approval. And the Democrats are unlikely to support any immigration proposal that does not also address the families and “Dreamers” living in the U.S

So, while the current proposal, as we know it, lacks details, it is still seen to be favorable towards EB-5, as Trump’s focus is tied to a “merit-based” immigration system. He wants the immigrants that come into the U.S. to bring value and skill to the states, which is exactly what the EB-5 program does.  EB-5 investors help the U.S. economy by bringing in valuable assets and securing jobs for U.S. citizens.

History further presents the EB-5 Visa Program as a benefit to the U.S. economy. When the U.S. hit a recession in 2008, developers could not obtain funding through traditional means, but the EB-5 Program provided a critical capital investment to the U.S., boosting the economy in a time of need.

Trump has a desire to “increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent,” and place priority to immediate family members. One of the main goals of EB-5 investors is for their children to receive a top-tier education, to in turn gain access to a highly skilled job in the U.S.. These two motives line up with each other positively, presenting the EB-5 program as an asset to the immigration proposal.

While the EB-5 program is successful, it could be made even better with some reforms. If Congress addresses the EB-5 program, the backlogs in some countries should and could be resolved.

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