Fast-Tracked Checks of Foreign Investors May Put U.S. at Risk; Light Shined on McAuliffe Case

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

Fast-Tracked Checks of Foreign Investors May Put U.S. at Risk; Light Shined on McAuliffe Case


Byline: Jeffrey Anderson and Shaun Waterman, The Washington Times

A Department of Homeland Security whistleblower says one of its agencies is skimping on background checks of U.S. companies seeking to participate in a program that gives green cards to high-dollar foreign investors - potentially compromising national security.

The federal EB-5 visa program came under scrutiny this summer after reports that the head of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency personally intervened to expedite applications from a company affiliated with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe.

But the whistleblower's complaints provide insight into how U.S. corporations - such as Mr. McAuliffe's underperforming electric car company that is heavily reliant on foreign investment - can win approval despite shaky business models and limited chances of success.

The whistleblower, an analyst with the citizenship services agency, said he tracked more than 30 applications from U.S. companies seeking to participate in the program and calculated an average approval time of 4.3 days per case for reviews that ideally should take weeks, if not months.

I'm trained to study financial corruption and corruption networks, he said. There were a huge number of files, and many factors to consider. Is there a semblance of an idea? Do they know their operating margins? Do they have a plan for revenue growth? What about a marketing plan? It never dawned on the Department of Homeland Security that they needed any of this.

Security risks

The analyst, who also has conducted internal audits for several other Cabinet-level federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies, was hired in March 2012. The Washington Times is withholding his name because he fears that publicly coming out as a whistleblower might harm his employment prospects.

He laid out his concerns in a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general in May 2012, warning of the dangers of EB-5 approval for investors who have not been vetted.

The current mindset of pushing cases with little regard for anything other than production timelines has made it into a national security threat, he wrote. A 24-48 hour production time ensures a lack of due diligence and oversight.

The analyst resigned a month later.

A spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services declined to comment on specific cases but said the agency made a concerted effort to strengthen national security and our antifraud programs across all its visa programs by establishing a Fraud and National Security Directorate.

The agency takes seriously the responsibility to safeguard the integrity of America's immigration system, said the spokesman, Christopher S. Bentley

Officials say the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990, is designed to attract investors willing to risk capital in ventures that will create at least 10 jobs in the United States. Would-be entrepreneurs who invest at least $500,000 in a new U.S. business can apply.

The citizenship services agency says the goal of the program is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.

Almost all foreign investments in the EB-5 program are channeled through special companies called regional centers. Once their business plan is approved by immigration officials, the companies bundle investments into qualifying new businesses. Investors then can apply for an EB-5 visa, and, if approved, can claim a conditional green card immediately upon entry to the United States. After two years, the conditions are removed if the investment has created the jobs or looks likely to.

More than three-quarters of all the 7,641 EB-5 visas issued in fiscal 2012 went to Chinese investors and their immediate families, according to government figures. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fast-Tracked Checks of Foreign Investors May Put U.S. at Risk; Light Shined on McAuliffe Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.