How Upscale Areas Like Uptown Dallas Get Classified as Needy to Lure Foreign Investors Seeking Visas

WASHINGTON — The tony North Texas suburb of Westlake doesn’t conjure up images of a distressed area with high unemployment. Neither does the hip enclave of Uptown Dallas. Nor does the booming jobs corridor that runs through Collin County.But local mayors and county judges, at the urging of developers, have signed off in recent years on giving those thriving areas just that label.The absurd contradiction is the result of a permissible, if brazen, strategy to maximize use of the EB-5 immigrant investor visa. In that program, foreigners invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in American enterprises in exchange for getting on the fast track to receive a green card.And at the center of it all is the gaming of a key designation, known as a “targeted employment area,” that gives foreigners a break for funding projects in what are supposed to be needy locales.“This is a program that borders on not doing something by the spirit of the law,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, a vocal advocate for EB-5 investment.  Continue reading...

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