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EXCLUSIVE: Congress Is Trying to Expand A Visa Loophole Allowing Chinese Communist Party Members To Obtain U.S. Citizenship

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A loophole that allows individuals to transfer visas from foreign countries into American citizenship frequently exploited by China is on track to be broadened with the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, The National Pulse can reveal.

The controversial and corruption-ridden EB-5 Visa program is how most wealthy Chinese National secure American citizenship, receiving a green card in exchange for investing several hundred thousand dollars into an U.S.-based business. It has come under scrutiny, however, for being part of a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) scheme to grant residency – and access to American enterprise – for party members.

As Representatives Jim Jordan and Guy Reschenthaler of the House Judiciary Committee noted, “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.”

CITIZENSHIP FOR SALE.

To China’s dismay, however, the EB-5 waiting list is notoriously backlogged. In some cases, by nearly two decades.

China has devised a scheme to circumvent the long wait:

  1. Chinese nationals pay $200,000 – considerably less than the EB-5 $500,000 minimum – to secure citizenship for themselves, their spouse, and children on the island of Grenada;
  2. Exploiting Grenada’s E-2 Visa program, Chinese nationals invest in a business that meets E-2 requirements in the U.S. – which demands less money, time, and effort than the EB-5 process;
  3. The Chinese nationals – legally Grenadian – then move to the U.S. and renew E-2 visa until the EB-5 Visas become available.

And now, Congress is working to export the scheme to Portugal, broadening the avenues which Chinese nationals – and perhaps party members – can exploit for citizenship.

Section 1755, of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) aimed at fiscal year 2021’s defense spending, would allow Chinese nationals to enter the U.S. via an E-2 Visa from Portugal, following the aforementioned steps.

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This is a much more alarming prospect, as more Chinese nationals have already expressed interest in purchasing Portuguese Citizenship, and firms that help navigate the Visa process have described the Portugal Visa as “the most popular scheme in Europe with investors attracted to its flexibility and benefits.”

In other words, the lax qualifications for a Portuguese Visa and subsequent high demand from China means a Grenada-style Visa program in Portugal would see wide usage.

Launched in 2017, the Grenadian program has seen over 120 individuals, excluding spouses and family members, partake in the program. The program, however is becoming increasingly popular, quadrupling in participants over the course of just one year.

Representative Paul Gosar introduced an amendment to the NDAA to eliminate the section, though Democrats refused to consider it.

In an exclusive statement to The National Pulse, Rep. Gosar slammed his colleagues:

“While China continues to lie, cheat, sabotage, and steal, Democrats are busy creating a loophole in our National Defense bill that would allow Chinese investors to buy access to the United States while circumventing traditional safeguards. My amendment would eliminate efforts to create this backdoor for China.”

While the act has passed the House, it’s not a fait accompli yet, as the bill must still be voted on by the Senate.

FOLLOW THE MONEY.

What’s more, nixing Portugal and Grenada’s special status would protect American industry from predatory Chinese investment – of great concern post-coronavirus.

The “foreign direct investment” (FDI) component of the EB-5 Visa process is a euphemism for the scheme that allows foreign nations – chiefly China – to pour capital into U.S. companies in exchange for ownership, influence, and profit. It’s defined as an “enterprise designed to acquire a controlling interest in [a foreign] enterprise.”

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The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report highlighted FDI – an industry worth tens of billions of dollars – as a tactic where “the Chinese government directs Chinese firms to invest in and acquire U.S. companies and assets in order to obtain cutting-edge technologies and IP, fostering technology transfer in strategic industries.”

“The Chinese government directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets by Chinese companies,” the report continues. Even the Department of Defense (DOD) has identified the practice as a threat, noting “there is no question that [the U.S.] has adversarial capital coming into our markets for nefarious means.”

FDI has even allowed for hostile nations including China to penetrate sizable sects of the defense industry, as 97 percent of the U.S. unmanned aerial systems market and nearly 75 percent of the commercial drone market are dominated by Chinese firms.

Or, take Washington, D.C. with Mayor Muriel Bowser at the helm as a case study in China’s attempted expansion of soft power via FDI.

Bowser solicited sizable investment from China to build the city’s wharf neighborhood, and following the joint venture, welcomed CCP-funded propaganda fronts known as Confucius Institutes into her district’s school system. She also publicly lauded the country, commenting “there’s a lot that we can learn from China.”

AMERICA FIRST?

The policy is also at odds with the Trump administration’s tough China resolve, recently mulling a travel ban on all CCP members and rebuking business, think tanks, and college which collaborate with them.

To protect both national security and the sanctity of American citizenship, Section 1755 has to go.


Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is an Investigative Reporter at the National Pulse and contributor to The National Pulse podcast.