Thomas A. Garrett, State Senator of Virginia, publicly addressed a letter on Thursday, April 11th, 2013, to Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Garrett’s letter formally asked USCIS to formally investigate the use of EB-5 funds in the electric car company named GreenTech Automotive. Garrett also requested that USCIS put the appropriate officials on the job and requested a formal response detailing the results.
GreenTech Automotive was founded by a candidate campaigning for governor in the state of Virginia: previous company chairman and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. It is no secret that GreenTech Automotive functions using EB-5 capital.
The EB-5 Visa Program is overseen by USCIS; an EB-5 Visa (fifth preference employment-based immigration) is obtained by foreign investors who invest $500,000 to one million and create 10 US jobs. After the completion of two years, if it is proven without a doubt to USCIS that the 10 jobs were created, the investor and his or her spouse and children under the age of 21 obtain residency.
Garret cites a story in The Washington Post as evidence for the need for an investigation into GreenTech Automotive’s involvement in the EB-5 Program. In 2009, under Tim Kaine, the former governor of Virginia, officials of economic development in Virginia were quoted from an email and it was reported in The Washington Post. The Virginia Economic Development Program officials, including VP of business expansion Liz Povar, questioned the proposed use of EB-5 funds at GreenTech Automotive. Povar described it as a visa-for-sale scheme and a second official voiced an agreeing opinion. The company had planned to build a plant in Virginia; that plan switched to building the plant in Mississippi. McAuliffe’s campaign did not provide a comment.
The spokesperson of McAuliffe’s current political campaign for the office of governor, Josh Schwerin, asserted on Friday (April 12, 2013) that the call for investigation into GreenTech Automotive’s association with the EB-5 Program is an attack on a beneficial government program that creates jobs to the benefit of the US economy. Additionally, the EB-5 Program has been supported by the administration of Robert McDonnell (the current governor of Virginia), almost all US Senators, almost all the House Representatives and Fortune 500 companies across the country.
Schwerin also notes that the letter may be an effort to redirect attention from the controversy surrounding Star Scientific Inc. (maker of supplements) and Ken Cuccinelli (Virginia’s attorney general). A federal inquiry was previously requested by Senator Mark herring when both McDonnell and Cuccinelli received personal gifts from Star Scientific’s chief executive (Jonnie Williams).
Applicants to the EB-5 Program are expected to adhere to specific rules and an intensive application process. All EB-5 investment should be made in compliance with the securities laws of the United States. Additionally, the investment has to be made in a US commercial entity and create 10 full-time jobs for 2 years.
EB5Investors.com is a site for those interested in learning more about the eb-5 visa program and potentially looking for a regional center or immigration attorney.