Sneaky Chinese Millionaires Ruining America, Making Trump Family Richer

Not that he needs to compensate for anything

If there's anything that makes Donald Trump angry, it's how the Chinese have gamed the world economy to their advantage, which means America never wins anymore. The other thing that really cheeses Trump off is people gaming our immigration system, finding ways through our porous borders and taking away Americans' jobs. So it only stands to reason we'd learn a new building with the Trump name on it is being financed by rich Chinese investors who get U.S. visas by investing in real estate. It's all perfectly legal and above-board of course, but maybe poor optics for a guy who likes to whip up the crowds at his rallies by complaining about China, "They’ve taken our jobs, they’ve taken our money, they’ve taken everything." But hey, they're also super smart at business, which is why Donald Trump has no choice but to make his ties and other Trump-branded crap there. He's a victim in all of this, too.

Bloomberg Politics investigative reporter Jesse Drucker notes Trump is in favor of reforming some visa programs, so all jobs will go to American workers first, unless of course they're seasonal jobs at Trump resorts that you just can't find Americans to fill. But Trump seems to have no problem at all with the "EB-5" visa program, which allows foreigners to get a two-year visa to the USA, often as a first step toward gaining permanent residency, as long as they invest a minimum of $500,000 in a project that will create jobs, supposedly in low-income areas.

In practice -- you will be astonished to learn -- nobody knows how many jobs are actually created by the EB-5 program, but it's awfully good at generating investment in high-end real estate, like the brand new "Trump Bay Street" tower going up in Jersey City, New Jersey. Like most Trump-branded buildings these days, the Trump Organization isn't building the thing, but the money is staying in the family, since the 50-story luxury apartments are being built by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who's married to Donald's very bangable daughter Ivanka. And about a quarter of the funding for the project -- $50 million -- is coming from Chinese investors seeking EB-5 visas. They may not have skills that will make America great again, but they've certainly got money to buy their way into the country, where for all we know they may make rich Chinese anchor babies. Think of it as an exchange program for China's One Percenters, except the money goes to American One Percenters who get to stay here too.

Fittingly enough, a Chinese-language video used to attract investors

leads viewers behind the wheel of a car into Jersey City with scenes of the tower, all to the tune of the theme song from The Sopranos, "Woke Up This Morning."

Everyone involved in this thing is a legitimate businessman, got it?

Not surprisingly, neither the Trump Organization nor Kushner's company had much to say to Drucker. A Trump spokestoady emailed to say Trump Bay Street "was a highly successful license deal but he is not a partner in the financing of the development," and no thank you, they didn't answer any questions about Mr. Trump's opinion on the EB-5 visa program. As for Kushner, a representative "said the project was entirely legal and creating jobs."

You’ll also be delighted to know a Government Accountability Office report last year discovered at least some EB-5 applicants had submitted counterfeit documentation, and that State Department officials said the government has “no reliable method to verify the source of the funds of petitioners.”

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing -- at least if they're doing fraud, they're doing fraud at no cost to taxpayers and creating American jobs, unlike those nasty Syrian refugee children who could turn out to be terrorists. It's not like a terrorist could ever come up with half a million dollars, is it? Besides, we must be screening these people at least a little, right?

Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican who is chairman of the judiciary committee, last month cited a memo from Homeland Security saying that EB-5 visa holders do not clear the same hurdles as other immigrants, like proof of education and work qualifications [...]

Last spring, a Homeland Security special agent testified that EB-5 applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan and Malaysia "had been approved in as little as 16 days, with files lacking basic law enforcement queries."

[contextly_sidebar id="qz65gIK0VePVuzyAhPsc6vLo2kWpewzt"]Remember how we need to keep refugee children out of the country because even with a five-year review process, we don't have airtight documentation? Looks like all those refugee children really need is some big bucks, although we can see how that might be a challenge. But if you're a potential job creator, welcome, friend!

Oh, hey, and about all those jobs the EB-5 program creates, what about those? They must really be doing a lot to invigorate the economy, to earn such a streamlined path to green cards for Chinese millionaires, right?

The visa program was intended to create jobs in economically distressed areas but has often turned into a source of financing for high-profile developments in prosperous neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. Audrey Singer, a Brookings fellow, says data collected through the program makes it impossible to track how many jobs get created.

Oh. We'll just mark that down as "lots and lots," then. So we've got a visa program of dubious job-creating value that's enabling rich American developers to raise money for luxury buildings from rich foreigners who would like very much to contribute to their own children's future prosperity. As long as it shakes loose some construction jobs while the buildings are going up, and some housekeeping and parking attendant jobs afterwards, it's a wonderful thing, and not at all hypocritical.

Also, it took us more than two paragraphs to explain, so don't expect it to upset any Trump supporters.

[Bloomberg Politics / Atlantic / Gothamist]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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