Those of us on the Left find it all too easy to generalize about Obama bowing to the fat cats of America.
You know, perpetuating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, being overly nice to Wall Street, etc.
One might be tempted to extend that litany of criticisms to the attempts of the administration to increase the flow of immigrant investors to the U.S. through various means, and there has been a lot of that recently, as illustrated by this USCIS announcement.
The USCIS document relates to the program in which otherwise inadmissable aliens can get a collection of green cards for their entire family by simply investing the half-million dollars in a program operated by one of the numerous Regional Centers recognized by USCIS. Two years later the alien can withdraw the investment, and, of course, keep the green cards.
The shorthand for the program is EB-5, because these are allegedly Employment-Based visas of the fifth class. Savvy overseas investors do not seem very interested. So USCIS has been trying to beat the drums for more applicants, which the agency wants to be handled more quickly and more sympathetically by the civil service decision-makers.
As part of this drive, USCIS wants to make it easier to establish these Regional Centers, usually profit-making institutions.
However, in criticizing this program, we really need to watch our language, notably about "fat cats".
Truly fat-cat capitalists, as I have mentioned in an earlier blog would not be caught dead looking for investments in piddling half-million dollar tranches, which is all one gets in the main part of the EB-5 program.
So what we have here is the administration bowing to the smallest of the would-be plump felines, but bowing in a way that should be embarrassing to a pro-immigrant agency.
Bear in mind that USCIS generally creates huge barriers to anyone, citizen or alien, who wants to communicate directly with an agency decision-maker. If you are a citizen and your relative is dying of cancer in some Third World country, and you want to bring that person here for better medical care, can you actually talk to the adjudicator who is charged with the admissions decision?
Of course not; routinely you submit paper applications and wait. Or your lawyer does, and waits. Or just maybe, if the lawyer has a generic question he can talk to someone about it, but probably not regarding a specific case. Or maybe if you have a powerful congressman with a talented immigration specialist on staff, then maybe something can be done.
But if all you want to do is to make money off some aliens, and if you are a hopeful, would-be fat cat one who is interested in creating one of those middle-man Regional Centers, well, you are among the favored few.
You, unlike the citizen or the alien wanting to bring a dying family member into the States, “will be able to communicate directly with USCIS adjudicators via e-mail in an effort to streamline the process ...” according to the document cited earlier.
Would-be little fat cats, you have the blessings of USCIS and the Obama administration!