Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) has bundled two unattractive proposals (one old and one new) into a single bill (H.R.1834).
He wants to adjust the status of some nonimmigrant business people and their relatives now here on E-2 (temporary) visas to immigrant status; such conversions are a familiar technique in the immigration field, but not a good idea in this case.
He also proposes something new and, to me, disturbing. Typically U.S. immigration policy calls for the admission of aliens with particular qualities — a skilled worker, in some instances, and someone's relative in others. Each of these is regarded as the "principal" immigrant and each may be accompanied by a spouse and children up to the age of 21.
Jolly, apparently taking a cue from the Affordable Care Act (which he opposed), has decided that the upper age of children, in his bill, would be 26. I have not seen that age in immigration legislation before.
This is troublesome because there are a lot more people in the age bracket of 0-26 than there are in the current age bracket of 0-21, and what this nation does not need are more immigrants who are admitted only because they are related to somebody, usually other immigrants.
Jolly's bill would add another 10,000 visas a year to the current collection (which already brings us a million people annually). To secure a set of visas for the family the main nonimmigrant alien would have to have operated a business here for 10 years under the E -2 (Treaty Investor) provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
One problem with the E-2 visas is that there is no floor under the amount of money that the E-2 investor brings with him or her, so while the passive investors in the EB-5 program must invest $500,000 there is no such minimum level for the E-2s. I gather that some E-2s and their families have been granted visas with investments as small as $50,000 — for the whole family.
Another problem is that E-2 program is run by the State Department alone, which means that there is no U.S.-based field staff to monitor the E-2s, just as there has been no field staff (until quite recently) to look after the exploitative Summer Work Travel program.
A third problem is that Jolly's bill also sets a new low when it comes to the creation of jobs in America; the EB-5 investment is supposed to produce 10 jobs. Jolly's bill requires only two. So there could be a specific situation in which the program produced, say, six family members and only two jobs.
The E-2 program is different from the State Department's E-1 program for Treaty Traders; these are often employees of international firms.