Under What Circumstances Does a State Government Get a Financial Reward when an Alien Receives a Green Card?

By David North on July 17, 2023

State governments are usually losers when it comes to immigration matters; they routinely have to pick up substantial educational, welfare, and healthcare costs for low-income migrants, legal and illegal.

But in one highly specialized case, one state government stands to obtain $62,500 for each set of green cards issued to one of a set of families suing it. That’s a total of $4 million. What’s going on?

It turns out to be one of many odd consequences of the long-running EB-5 scandal in Vermont, the Green Mountain State, in which hundreds of would-be investors in ski resorts were fleeced by since jailed middlemen, as we have reported from time to time.

The 64 alien families, each of whom put up $500,000 in order to get a family-sized set of green cards, have settled with Vermont’s government for a total of $16,500,000 on the grounds that the state, which played the role of a DHS-approved regional center, had, in effect, permitted them to be swindled by middlemen Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros. By my calculations, the aliens had put up $32 million into the scheme, and may have been partially reimbursed earlier by one of dozens of earlier court cases, with the current settlement accounting for about half of their investments.

One of the provisions of this new settlement, which needs to be approved by a federal judge, is that the state will continue to press the feds to issue the green cards to the 64 investor families. If the state is successful in this regard, the total bill drops by $4 million, an interesting arrangement and one that I have not noticed before.

Three states tried to operate regional centers in the EB-5 program, and all three have given up following scandals, major in the cases of Vermont and South Dakota and minor in the case of Michigan.

The reporting in Vermont was done by VTDigger, an admirable alternative news website that has been exposing these scandals for more than a decade.