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A little known program put in place by H.W. Bush in 1990 grants Visas to foreign investors for a minimum $500,000.00 investment.  The purpose of this program originally was for foreign investors to create jobs in disadvantaged communities as well as expand current business enterprises.  In return, those investors would be fast-tracked to citizenship via Visas by the INS.  Unfortunately, Democrats also bought into this plan figuring that it was ok to pump money into the economy as long as we had a little oversight.  Also, too, Canada had a program similar to this in place and they figured why should all the money go to Canada?

South Dakota has had numerous projects funded this way...only a couple of them have worked out.  The beef plant in Aberdeen and Veblen dairy were both promised money by foreign investors but both were promised more money than they received.  Both have now gone bankrupt and hundreds of South Dakotans are out of jobs.

This article lays out the problems of this program and points out how even after an administrator is no longer with the INS, they can profit off the EB-5 program with no accountability.

Evidently, there were some guidelines put in place after this article ran, but still not enough oversight.
South Dakota jumped on the EB-5 bandwagon during Mike Rounds' administration.  He is currently running for Sen. Tim Johnson's soon-to-be-vacated seat.  Gov. Rounds contracted with Joop Bollen to administer the program.  Bollen is now being investigated for fraud related to the program.

Our former director of tourism, Richard Benda, also worked with Joop Bollen on these EB-5 contracts.  He was found dead in southeast South Dakota in October while hunting.  No official cause of death has been indicated, but his brother-in-law said he was shot in the side.  This is also being investigated.

And here is a link to Corey Heidelberger's excellent summary in South Dakota Magazine. He operates an awesome blog in South Dakota,

To sum up:

South Dakota bought into the idea of cheap investment money to expand business in South Dakota via the EB-5 program.  Governor Rounds enlisted the help of his friend, Joop Bollen to administer it.  Richard Benda worked with Bollen and was the head of our tourism industry.  EB-5 gets investigated, Bollen's government contract is dropped, Benda ends up dead in a suspicious hunting accident.

Move along, nothing to see here...typical South Dakota politics.

Originally posted to vikingobsessed on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 02:54 PM PST.

Also republished by South Dakota Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rounds will be defeated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WorkerInUSA, jasan

    only if he's caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.  Very sad.
    Nice diary.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 04:16:03 PM PST

  •  US citizenship for sale - cheap (0+ / 0-)

    This is nothing but a fire sale of US citizenship. We need to put a cost of $5,000,000 on a US citizenship. For many of these chinese and Koreans, $500,000 is chump change.

    It is time to stop the fire sale of all sorts of US jobs for foreigners. The H-1B is another fire sale. The J-1 is another. We give jobs to foreign scabs, and our own kids work at crap jobs with college degrees.  It's a disgrace.

  •  "We give jobs to foreign scabs" (0+ / 0-)

    Scabs are "strikebreakers", workers hired to replace union workers out on strike, are the not?

    Are foreign workers abroad who accept employment from an American employer fairly labeled as scabs, or deserving of  being called, "foreign scabs"?

    Are they not fellow workers too?

    When workers turn against each other, fighting over the scraps  from the tables of the oligarchs, the labor class is diminished.

    Isn't the answer in solidarity against the 1%, rather than vilification of fellow workers.

    Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

    by BlackBandFedora on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 11:34:30 PM PST

    •  Scabs are people who the bosses bring in (0+ / 0-)

      to take jobs.

      This is the H-1B program.

      They are NOT our compatriots.

      You don't seem real clear about the nature of the labor movement. The Union movement was about jobs for union members, not jobs for everyone.

  •  The Canadian version is working quite well, (0+ / 0-)

    thank you.

    People did the math and realized we need quite a few of these investor class immigrants to fund things like health care and retirement for baby boomers.  At this point, it's hard to find a convenience store or dry cleaner in Canada that isn't owned by an investor immigrant.  And all of these people pay taxes and hire people to work in their businesses.

    On a social level, people from China or wherever who can afford the $ entry fee are not going to be moochers once they get here, they are not terrorists or whatever people are afraid of, they're mostly upper-middle class people who want a safe place to raise their families.  I don't see why we would price them out by raising the cost to several million $.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 05:40:49 AM PST

  •  Just my opinion (0+ / 0-)

    but if the EB-5 program was administered correctly and had sufficient oversight, it probably would work much like Canada's.  The US would have more jobs created at the expense of overseas people who have money burning a hole in their pocket.  And in return, it would make it easier for them to become a citizen because they have invested in the country.  

    But with little oversight and state governments like ours in South Dakota, it becomes a breeding ground for shady business practices.

    And now, the Rapid City Journal has reported, the EB-5 mess is tangled up with the Hutterite Colonies and shipping money offshore.  Why the Hutterite Colonies need to ship money off shore, I have no idea.

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