(Senate - September 13, 2012)

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[Pages S6334-S6335]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today, the House of Representatives passed 
S. 3245, legislation to reauthorize the job-creating EB-5 Regional 
Center Program for an additional 3 years. In addition to this important 
program, the legislation also prevents the expiration of three other 
immigration programs important to Senator Conrad, Senator Hatch, and 
Senator Grassley.
  I am very pleased the House acted with such strong bipartisan 
support, and I commend House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith 
for his quick action on the bill. Once again I thank the Judiciary 
Committee's ranking member, Senator Grassley, for his partnership on 
this legislation.
  Passage of this legislation in the House today will ensure that the 
job-creating EB-5 Regional Center Program will continue. Today's action 
will allow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to continue to 
improve and grow the program administratively and will give me and 
other interested lawmakers, agency officials, and private citizens the 
time needed to consider and find consensus on lasting statutory 
improvements to the program so that it may continue as a permanent and 
vital part of our immigration system. Most importantly, it will allow 
American entrepreneurs to continue building job-creating development 
projects around the country.
  This program is and will remain a productive part of America's 
immigration system. Like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United 
Kingdom, the United States is right to provide the world's citizens the 
opportunity to immigrate to its shores based upon investment. This 
program welcomes people from around the world who devote substantial 
investment capital to American businesses to invigorate American 
communities. And it does so at no cost to the American taxpayer. 
Moreover, those who immigrate through this program will purchase

[[Page S6335]]

real estate and other goods, enroll their children in our schools, 
colleges, and universities, pay taxes, and enrich the communities in 
which they will live and work.
  As the availability of credit in the United States has become 
restricted, particularly for new and small businesses, many have turned 
to this program for capital. The program's growth over the last several 
years has been significant. And with increased growth comes the need 
for the law to keep pace and for the administering agency to adapt to 
this growth and devote the necessary resources. As we move forward, I 
look forward to continuing my work on comprehensive legislation to make 
this program an efficient, more productive, and permanent part of our 
immigration law. We have already seen many instances of the way in 
which this program can harness together many individual investments to 
do big things in many communities. But the law can and will benefit 
from some improvement in the coming months, and I stand ready to work 
with any Senators who recognize the value and potential of this 
  Our immigration law provides 10,000 visas each year for this program. 
When this program reaches the point at which it is fully subscribed, 
based on the minimum required investment amount and the statutory job 
creation requirement, it has the potential to direct $5 billion in 
foreign capital investment into American communities each year, with 
the potential for the creation of 100,000 American jobs. And that 
calculation does not take into account the domestic capital that can be 
attracted when projects are capitalized and carried out through this 
program or the ancillary benefits that communities experience when 
local economies are strengthened, nor does it account for the 
immeasurable contributions that new Americans make to our communities 
across the country every day.
  We all recognize the need to take steps to do whatever we can to spur 
our economy and create jobs for American citizens. I have no doubt that 
the action taken unanimously by the Senate on August 3 and the decisive 
action taken by the House of Representatives today to complete the 
legislative process on this bill will help us meet this shared goal.