Angelique Brunner Responds to Wall Street Journal Article

Wall Street Journal LTE

I wholeheartedly agree with John Vecchione and Anne Weismann that reform of the EB-5 investor visa program is needed, but the authors are short sighted to call for an end to a win-win program (“No More Pay-to-Play Green Cards,” op-ed, Sept. 19).

I started my business, EB5 Capital, using this investment tool to finance neighborhood revitalization projects in Washington, D.C., then decimated by riots. Ten years later, transformations of underserved neighborhoods to today’s NoMa and Capitol Hill are EB-5 success stories. Often, EB-5 provides the critical capital to jump start development of projects – including charter schools and elder care centers – that otherwise would not get off the ground.

Today, EB5 Capital continues to connect revitalization projects that need funding to foreign investors who want to emigrate to the U.S., deploying more than $420 million in EB-5 capital across 21 projects, anchoring $2.4 billion of development and creating more than 30,000 American jobs.

Beyond my personal experience, evidence of U.S. economic growth from this program includes a 2017 study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which found EB-5 investors provided $5.8 billion in capital to invest in 562 projects in one fiscal year, creating an estimated 174,000 jobs.

While this investor visa program has a record of putting Americans to work, there have occasionally been a few bad actors who have abused the program. That’s why our broad-based EB-5 Investment Coalition has long argued that reforms, such as integrity measures to deter investor fraud and safeguard national security, are needed to allow EB-5 to continue to do what it does best —spur investment in communities across the country and create hundreds of thousands of jobs at no cost to taxpayers. There’s no logic to Congress throwing in the towel on returns like those.

 Angelique Brunner
Washington, D.C.