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Dem renews call to kill visa program after Kushner controversy

Dem renews call to kill visa program after Kushner controversy
© Greg Nash

A top Democratic senator is renewing her call to end a controversial investment visa program amid reports that it was pitched by companies tied to White House adviser Jared Kushner’s family.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' Senate Democrats call on Biden to restore oversight of semiautomatic and sniper rifle exports MORE (D-Calif.) said Monday that the EB-5 visa program, which woos foreign investors to fund United States infrastructure projects with the promise of eventual citizenship, should end.

Feinstein said the EB-5 program presents “a stark conflict of interest” for President Trump and Kushner, both of whom have used EB-5 funding for construction projects. 

“Given that President Trump and Jared Kushner refuse to divest from their vast financial holdings,” Feinstein said, “the only way to eliminate this conflict is for Congress to allow the program to expire in September,” when funding for the federal government runs out.

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She has long called for the program to end, citing reports of rampant fraud and abuse.

The New York Times and The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, touted access to her brother and support from Trump during a presentation in Beijing while seeing investors for a luxury apartment building in New Jersey being built by Kushner Properties.

Companies run by Kushner’s family later apologized for pitching connections to the White House adviser.

Lawmakers across party lines have expressed concerns about EB-5 visas for decades.

They argue the program — meant to spread economic development in poor and rural areas — merely benefits wealthy developers in big cities. The vast majority of EB-5 money goes to New York City, where developers gobble up the cheap capital for expensive high-rises.

Opponents also cite cases of fraud and national security risks documented by investigative journalists and federal watchdogs.

Supporters, who point to the billions of dollars invested in American businesses through the EB-5 program, consider it an essential connection to capital for U.S. businesses.