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Foreign Investor Program That Vt. Relies On Added To Immigration Bill

Senator Patrick Leahy’s plan to strengthen an investment visa program has been added to the massive immigration reform bill before the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee.

The committee is in the process of reviewing hundreds of amendments to the bill. Leahy serves as the chairman of the panel.

The EB-5 visa program grants green cards to foreign businesspeople and their families in exchange for a $500,000 investment in a sanctioned economic development project.

As part of the agreement, it must also create at least ten new jobs.

Leahy says his amendment will give make the EB-5 program permanent.

“And we’ll also add in some very specific reforms," Leahy said. "We do it well in Vermont. We weed out those people who just want to game this system. We want to make sure it’s done that same way everywhere else in the country.”

Leahy says the EB-5 program has been used to finance major expansion projects at Sugarbush and Jay Peak and he thinks the projects serve as models for the rest of the country:

“Those are active participants in the program," he said, "and what they’ve done, they’ve created an awful lots of local jobs in those areas because of the expansions that they’ve been able to take on.”

Leahy hopes that his committee will wrap up its work on the immigration bill by the end of the month. It would then be considered by the full Senate.

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