The Editorial Board: No-Fee Economic Development Program Could Collapse If Congress Fails | Editorial

The EB-5 program has two parts. The first part is known as the direct program. This is a permanent US government program, established in 1990. It does not need to be reauthorized. However, it is small and not used to create jobs in Buffalo. When Congress created the Regional Center program in 1992, it designed it to be reauthorized every two years. Last June, that was not the case.

There is, of course, an uncomfortable aspect to this program, in that it encourages people from other countries to – essentially – buy their way into the immigration system. But that’s not the only way the United States makes room for new residents, and it’s been shown to benefit the country. Here it has made a difference and we should not let it fail.

A bill in Congress died in the Senate due to inertia and ambition, said William Gresser, the Buffalo native whose company led the program’s investments throughout the region. Sometimes, he observed, things get lost in congressional reshuffling but also, he said, and some lawmakers want to attach amendments to the bill. These two problems combined to put this program in jeopardy.

But for Gresser and other advocates, it doesn’t matter what else is in the bill as long as it includes reauthorizing the program.

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