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Scholar-in-Residence Gary Friedland Testifies Before Congress, Citing Research with Professor Jeanne Calderon on the Immigrant Investor EB-5 Program

Gary Friedland Testifies Before Congress article

Thus, if the commercial traffic pattern approach would enable the large-scale real estate projects in Gateway cities to qualify as a TEA, it is difficult to view this approach as a serious effort at TEA reform.

Scholar-in-Residence Gary Friedland delivered testimony based on his joint work with Professor Jeanne Calderon at a Congressional hearing convened by the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the immigrant investor EB-5 program. The hearing, entitled, “The Distortion of EB-5 Targeted Employment Areas: Time to End the Abuse,” was held on April 13, 2016.
 
Friedland’s written testimony was jointly prepared with Professor Calderon and partly based on their recent paper, entitled, “What TEA Projects Might Look Like Under EB-5 2.0: Alternatives Illustrated with Maps and Data,” which examined Congress’ proposed changes to the “Targeted Employment Areas,” or TEA, under the EB-5 program and its impact on NYC projects. His remarks touched on several topics, including:
  • Congress’ original intent in establishing the TEA concept
  • EB-5 capital as a subsidy available to all projects, not limited to projects located in TEAs
  • The prevalence of urban area TEA projects in today’s market
  • Factors to be considered by Congress in redefining TEAs
  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) role in fostering gerrymandering
  • Current opportunities for USCIS to remedy the problem
  • California’s approach to TEA Designation
  • Why visa reserves might be as – or more – important than TEA project qualification 
Friedland argued: “Thus, if the commercial traffic pattern approach would enable the large-scale real estate projects in Gateway cities to qualify as a TEA, it is difficult to view this approach as a serious effort at TEA reform.  It negates the original intent of Congress, provides the greatest incentive for immigrants to invest in the largest projects and in affluent areas that are most likely to be able to attract conventional capital, and thus, renders TEA status meaningless.”
 
Read Friedland's complete written testimony.
 
Watch the full hearing (Friedland’s remarks begin at 01:14:04).

Read reflections on the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on EB-5: Time for TEA Reform.