Senate Conference Report on IMMACT90 including Investor Visas
Excerpt from Congressional Record during SenateDiscussions on the EB-5 Visa in The ImmigrationAct of 1990 (IMMACT90)IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1990--CONFERENCE REPORT(Senate - October 26, 1986)136 Cong. Rec. S17106-01, 17107-17110* * * * *Mr. SIMPSON. I will yield the Senator 4 minutes.The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois claims the time for theproponents. The Senator is recognized for 3 minutes 50 seconds.Mr. SIMON. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleagues on theSubcommittee on Immigration and Refugee Affairs in support of the conferenceagreement on legal immigration reform.The reforms we make today are the most far-reaching reforms in immigrationreform since the 1924 act. And they are far more positive, generous andforward-looking than any legal immigration reform bill we have passedpreviously.* * * * *One section of the bill that I am particularly pleased to have had included from myoriginal bill is the employment generating [INVESTOR] visa provision. Followingthe recommendation of the Select Commission, the bill establishes a new visacategory for [entrepreneurs] who are willing to contribute to Americas economicgrowth and provide new jobs for Americans by investing in new Americanenterprises. This one provision will generate over $8 billion annually in newinvestment in small and independent U.S. businesses and provide up to 100,000new jobs for Americans--two goals which we need to pursue as quickly as possible.
This provision in the overall compromise bill is one for which there are nocurrently applicable INS procedures. It is a step into the future for immigration.Accordingly, I encourage the Department of Justice in promulgating regulationsexpeditiously and [in] administering this provision to work closely with the StateDepartment and the Commerce Department who have familiarity withinternational and commercial considerations that the Immigration Service has nottraditionally had the occasion to have full familiarity or expertise. Similarly,although this provision is not completely parallel to foreign [INVESTOR] visaprograms, I hope we can learn from and build upon the track record andexperiences of the Governments of Canada and Australia who have had greatsuccess in attracting talented people through their [INVESTOR] visa programs.In enacting the [INVESTOR] visa program, we want to attract [entrepreneurs] andjob-creators into the U.S. economy, and as long as their investment islegitimate, we do not want or need excessive or arbitrary industrialpolicy tests about what constitutes a worthwhile investment. Forexample, the bill requires [INVESTOR] immigrants to start new firms. But thisshould not be intended to preclude an [INVESTOR] starting that new companyfrom utilizing the existing assets of a failed enterprise. We should encourageand not cripple the creativity of these enterprising immigrants.Our bill distinguishes among [INVESTOR]s in only one way. The general rule--andthe vast majority of the [INVESTOR] immigrants will fit in this category--is thatthe [INVESTOR] must invest $1 million and create 10 U.S. jobs. However,we are mindful of the need to target investments to rural America and areaswith particularly high unemployment--areas that can use the job creation themost. For this group, we make available at least 3,000 visas annually. Americasurban core and rural areas have special job creation needs and this visa program issensitive to that in this way. Investments in this area must still create 10 jobs butrequire an investment less than $1 million. The Attorney General is authorized toset the required investment at a lower amount but at least $500,000. Clearly, thecloser the Attorney General sets this to $500,000, the more we can encourageinvestments in these critical areas. The third circumstance the bill envisions is forareas that have significantly lower unemployment levels than the national average.For these areas that are not rural and do not have pockets of high unemploymentwithin them, the Attorney General can set a higher required investment amount.
Neither the Senate nor the House bill established any sort of criteria about the typeof business investment. The only guideline is that the investmentminimums must be satisfied and the venture must employ at least 10people for 2 years. This makes good sense. As long as the employment goalis met, it is unnecessary to needlessly regulate the type ofbusiness--manufacturing, service, retail or the like--nor the characterof the investment. Corporations, partnerships, proprietors--all legal types ofbusiness entities--are appropriate as long as the immigrant invests at least $1million and creates 10 U.S. jobs. If two or more [INVESTOR] immigrants, eachinvesting $1 million, want to join together to establish a business, that should bepermitted. The million-dollar requirement or lesser amounts in rural and highunemployment areas should apply to the entire investment, including reserves, andneed not be applied only to the operational costs of the enterprise.As is true for other visa categories, valid applications should be granted basedupon the date they were filed. If this category is oversubscribed, it might then beappropriate to favor investments already made over future investments but onlywhen comparing applications received on the same day. Investments, to qualify forthis provision, must be made after the date of the enactment of this bill.* * * * *We have an [INVESTOR] program that will permit up to 10,000 people to makeinvestments here, to come to this country and create jobs. It is particularly targetedto areas of high unemployment. I think that will be of great help.