Jared Kushner's Family Banned Journalists While Pitching 'Golden Visas' For Chinese Investors

Kelly Massey
May 17, 2017

The visas, called the EB-5 immigrant investor program, were thrust into the spotlight over the weekend when reports surfaced from an investment conference in China that Kushner's family business was pitching the program to wealthy Chinese investors - and mentioned President Donald Trump's son-in-law's name and new title. His family's promotional efforts in China come amid widespread criticism of the EB-5 visa program, which has grown popular among wealthy foreigners seeking to move to the US but faces allegations of fraud and misuse. The visa program offers investors a path to obtain US green cards if they invest enough money in projects that create American jobs.

Kushner Companies "apologizes if that mention of [Meyer's] brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors", it said in a statement emailed to NPR, adding that it was not her intention. Meyer is a principal at Kushner Companies, which her brother (married to Ivanka Trump) ran before stepping away in order to serve his father-in-law in the White House.

A similar conference was held in Shanghai on Sunday. That investor was not approved for the program. Last week, Trump loyalist Stuart Jolly left a lobbying firm amid concerns he was exploiting his access after he posted a photo of himself at the White House with the presidential limousine, captioned, "My Uber finally arrived!" The Washington Post reports the media was asked to leave to maintain the "stability" of the event. Part of the deal's appeal, per brochures distributed to potential investors, regarding possible immigration to the United States: "Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States".

Meanwhile, the Democrats criticized Meyer's sales presentation about the EB-5 investor visa program.

"Mr. Kushner divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he is not a beneficiary of, a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics".

Eyebrows have been raised as the investment sought by the firm will be funneled through the US EB-5 visa program.

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This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.

Potential investor Xing said a Kushner representative who spoke on Sunday stressed that EB-5 rules could change after September to raise the minimum required investment.

Chinese citizens have snapped up more than 80 percent of the visas issued under the program since 2011, according to Invest in the United States of America, an industry association, and there's a huge backlog of applications. So obvious is the stench of conflicts of interest from this that organizers at the Kushner event in Beijing yesterday reportedly panicked once they discovered there were NYT and WaPo reporters there to cover it and ended up hassling them even though it was advertised as a public event.

A former White House ethics lawyer, however, disagrees.

Created in 1990 as a way to encourage investment during a recession, the program requires foreigners to invest $1 million in a business that sustainably employs 10 people anywhere or $500,000 in rural areas or those with high unemployment.

At Saturday's event, attendee Wang Yun, a Chinese investor, said the Kushner family's ties to Trump were an obvious part of the project's appeal. "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". Kushner officials are also making more presentations next weekend in the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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