Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Kushner Family Apologizes for Referring to White House Adviser Jared Kushner

Blake Roberts, Mr Kushner's attorney, said on Saturday that he has divested his interests in the One Journal Square project. "It says that visas-and eventual USA citizenship-are for sale, a bad message for the 4.4 million people waiting in line for visas-some for as long as 23 years", Feinstein said in the statement. It is also to be noted that in 2014, almost 90% of the EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese nationals.

China's growing middle class is attracted by the prospect of better opportunities for their children and what they perceive as a safer place to funnel some of their money, according to industry experts.

The EB-5 program, which lawmakers have targeted for reform, is authorized through government spending bills and has been renewed continuously for years as Congress has opted to renew short-term continuing resolutions. "Their main reason for wanting to immigrate is. for their kids' education".

While a member of Trump's family casually tossing out their connections to the administration to promote their business is bad enough, this again raises questions of a conflict of interest for Kushner.

The EB-5 programme has become more controversial as uptake began to surge in recent years, particularly among Chinese investors looking for a faster way to secure U.S. green cards relative to wait times for those seeking visas based on job qualifications.

At a press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Jared Kushner has no involvement in the project.

SINGH: And, again, we should note, the Kushners did not explicitly say that they would use their influence in the White House to get these investors green cards.

Some US lawmakers have called for changing or abolishing the EB-5 programme, but the scheme was recently renewed by Congress until september 30.

Michael Short, a White House spokesman, said in an email in mid-April that the EB-5 program needs "substantial fix".

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The senators wrote that the businessorganizations "may have recently agreed to a secretive backroom "deal" that undercuts the many good faith efforts we have made during the past two years". Their investments just have to create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers. To a nationalist, though, the idea of auctioning off American green cards in an era when immigration is already supposedly too high must grate, especially when it's for the benefit of the foreign elite, like Chinese oligarchs. But according to Guo, the money matters a lot to the growing numbers of middle class Chinese applicants.

Journalists had been asked to leave the room in Beijing.

USA officials have raised concerns about the vetting of investors, too.

The program has stoked controversy in the U.S.

In an unclassified State Department report from June 2012, officials said that Chinese applicants to the program are "usually coached and prepped for their interviews, making it hard to take at face value applicant claims regarding income" or membership in the Communist Party.

The Government Accountability Office reported in 2015 the program was rife with fraud.

Meyer noted that if investors put at least $500,000 into the Kushner-family backed project, they could qualify for an EB-5 visa.

In January, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposed increasing the amount to $1.35 million from $500,000, which experts say has caused an additional flurry of applications. "Furthermore, numerous wealthiest areas in America have been inaccurately designated as "high-unemployment" in order to allow investors to obtain a green card for the smaller US$500,000 investment".

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