U.S. & Canada

Interview: Gregory Finkelson on Border Security and Potential Shutdown Solutions

Political Gridlock

The U.S. government is currently experiencing a lengthy shutdown due to the lack of a funding plan for the government as a whole.

This shutdown recently became the longest shutdown in the history of the American government, adding yet another unique moment to an administration that has defied many norms.

Annual funding plans often serve as an opportunity for many politicians to assure that certain sectors of the government receive sufficient financial support throughout the year.

Given the drastic political divide in the nation’s capital, agreeing to one such funding plan has proven to be extremely difficult over the past several weeks.

President Trump recently approved a temporary lift on the government shutdown, but a long-term solution has not yet been reached.

The Promise of a Wall

The central reason for Trump’s staunch support of the immediate construction of a border wall along the southern border of the country is that Trump made the wall a major promise during his campaign.

Many of his supporters were attracted to the idea of increasing security along the U.S./Mexico border.

And while a wall may not prove to be an effective means of deterring illegal immigration to the U.S. from Central and South American countries, the idea served as a simple idea representing a larger desire for national security.

The prohibitive cost of the construction of a border wall has also been a major obstacle in the way of approving funding for the project.

Many fiscal republicans have pointed out that the estimated $5 billion necessary for creating the wall could be better used in service of practical national defense.

Democrats have been vocal in their proposal to use that money to fund social service programs around the country, many of which have had their budgets drastically cut since the start of the Trump presidency.

An Inventive Solution

Even experts have struggled to conceive of a practical solution to the government shutdown that would appease both major political parties while also still being financially responsible.

Recently, Dr. Gregory Finkelson has stepped up with a potential fix for the government shutdown.

He presented his solution in the form of an open letter, which was published on the Idea Trader website.

The basic premise of the plan is to attract the funds necessary for the border wall from foreign investors, specifically from China.

Below is our interview with Dr. Gregory Finkelson in regards to his proposed plan.

Question: We understand that you have written an open letter to President Trump containing a proposal for funding the Wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. Is this true?

Gregory Finkelson: Yes, it is. I advocate securing the United States’ southern border so our government can control immigration. I understand that many come to the border fleeing poverty and persecution. A secure border will not keep them out. It will ensure that they enter legally.

Question: When you originally proposed your idea for funding the Wall, it was linked to reopening the government. Now that it appears the government will re-open is your proposal still valid?

Gregory Finkelson: Yes. The funding proposal stands on its own merit. However, finding a way to fund the Wall independently would eliminate the prima facia argument that put government employees out of work.

Keep in mind that the shutdown has been rescinded only until February 15th, so we may be facing the dilemma again. Perhaps the next three weeks will provide sufficient opportunity for the proposal to be considered and approved so that we do not face another shutdown.

Question: You proposed financing the Wall by pooling the funds of 10,000 EB-5WALL investors. The EB-5 Regional Center program has lapsed. That was the only method for the pooling of EB-5 funds. How would your proposal work with the Regional Center program having lapsed?

Gregory Finkelson: My proposed EB-5WALL should have special terms, not related to the RC structure. Regional Centers are privately-owned commercial companies operating under the USCIS license to collect foreign investor’s funds to process in exchange for Green Cards under the rules of the EB-5 program.

According to the USCIS rules, the investment must be at risk. My proposed EB-5WALL will allow the U.S. Government to collect funds directly from foreign investors, mostly Chinese, without the need to pay them back, in exchange for the premium processing of their I-526 applications.

Question: Your proposal, then, would require a modification or amendment to the EB-5 pilot program. Does the President have the legal authority to make those revisions or would such a change require legislative action?

Gregory Finkelson: This is beyond the scope of my expertise. The President’s team would have to determine what steps are necessary. We do know that the team is looking for a way to fund the Wall. My proposal is certainly one they should investigate.

Question: Can you explain how the mechanism of your proposed EB-5W would work?

Gregory Finkelson: The USCIS would have to approve my proposed EB-5WALL first. Upon approval, foreign investors, mostly Chinese, could contact U.S.-licensed Law Offices to prepare their I-526 petitions. Our American Corporate Services Law Offices, Inc. is one of the many leading firms in the field of immigration. We will be glad to handle such petitions because our Immigration Attorneys have extensive experience in this field.

There are three requirements for the EB-5 visa applicants:

1) A minimum $500,000 investment in the USA economy;

2) The creation of at least 10 new jobs for Americans; and

3) Proof of legitimate funds.

For the proposed EB-5WALL, the above-listed terms will remain the same:

1) The minimum $500,000 investment in the USA economy will be done;

2) The creation of at least 10 new jobs for Americans will be done and will be proven by the Business Plan & Econometric Study prepared by the accredited Economist; and

3) Proof of funds will be determined as well.

Chinese EB-5 investors have been patiently waiting for the EB-5 process to catch up to the demand. Some have been waiting for as long as 10 years, and there does not appear to be an avenue for relief in sight despite annual drives for immigration reform in Congress.

That wait makes potential investors very unhappy. Many of them decide to immigrate to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Great Britain, Cyprus, and other countries. As a result, the USA is losing qualified investors, losing their investments, and not reaping the ancillary benefits related to purchase of real estate, new USA-based businesses formation, and creation of jobs for American workers.

The proposed EB-5WALL should have only two differences compared to the existing Regional Center program:

A) Temporarily waving of the 10,000 Country Quote; and

B) Premium processing for 15 calendar days.

These are wise actions to implement to secure a non-refundable $500,000 investment for the Wall development project. It is also a price these investors would be willing to pay for the opportunity to legally immigrate to the United States.

Question: How and when would investors in the EB-5WALL program get their investment back?

Gregory Finkelson: My proposal would not include returning the investment. The investment satisfies the requisites of the EB-5 program. These HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) are more concerned about obtaining permanent immigration status than having a return on or of their investment.

Question: Processing 10,000 investors would take a substantial amount of time. Are there 10,000 investors who have been properly vetted to the extent that their applications can be processed expeditiously?

Gregory Finkelson: There are currently about 140,000 Chinese investors who have agreed to wait for 10 years for processing to be completed. Many, if not all of them, will be very happy to switch to the EB-5WALL program.

In addition, there are even more potential Chinese investors who are not willing to wait for 10 years to get their temporary Green Cards. They would be eager to take advantage of my proposed EB-5WALL program.

I am absolutely certain that we will be able to bring these Chinese investors to the proposed EB-5WALL program in a relatively short period of time.

Also, we need to understand that the U.S. Government doesn’t need all $5 billion at the same time to be invested in the Wall construction. The processing and funding could be handled with monthly, quarterly, and annual investments.

Question: Assuming that there are 10,000 investors ready for immediate approval, would their families be granted immigration visas as well?

Gregory Finkelson: This the same law as to the Regional Center EB-5 program. The whole immediate family will be granted temporary Green Cards together with the member of the family who is the petitioner.

According to the USCIS regulations, “family” is defined as the petitioner, spouse, and their unmarried children below 21 years old.

Question: What else, if anything, would need to be done to in order to expedite efficient processing of ready-to-go applications?

Gregory Finkelson: We have great experience communicating with Chinese EB-5 investors. I wrote a ground-breaking book several years ago, “How to Find Chinese Investors, Agents & Clients for Your EB-5 Projects & Services – A Practical Guide for Regional Centers, Attorneys, Developers, and Businessmen” (Copies of the book are available at www.Business-Visa-USA.com.)

There should be an aggressive marketing campaign by the U.S. Government to explain the rules of the proposed EB-5WALL to potential Chinese investors to attract them to participate in this program. The cost of that campaign could be covered by the EB-5WALL funds as well.

Question: People are concerned about the caravans seeking asylum outside our southern border. Shouldn’t we be just as concerned about a rapid influx of investor immigrants? Should we trust them more because they are wealthy?

Gregory Finkelson: EB-5 and EB-5WALL are LEGAL ways to immigrate to the USA. Every petitioner will be checked for criminal records and proof of invested funds. Every applicant for immigration undergoes these security checks, whether they are seeking asylum or investing some of their wealth in the U.S. economy.

Many successful people who seek immigration by investment have the same reasons for applying for immigration. It can be summed up in one word: repression. Autocratic governments create conditions which make life difficult for both the rich and the poor. Neither group is more or less trustworthy than the other.

However, both groups may include some individuals whose intentions are not honorable. The purpose of the Wall and other security measures is to help ensure, to the best of our ability, that only those with legitimate and honorable intentions are permitted to enter the country.

Those who are able to pass the security checks and other requirements for the specific status they are seeking are allowed entry into the U.S. as legal immigrants.

Question: What kind of stress would your proposal place upon the USCIS? What about the housing market? What about strains on infrastructure? What about healthcare?

Gregory Finkelson: Much of the stress on USCIS is because of people attempting to come to the country illegally and/or showing up at the border without adequate documentation.

Once we build the Wall, we would have much fewer illegals and the USCIS will be able to focus primarily on processing legal immigrants.

EB-5WALL investors will acquire residential real estate for their families, will bring their initiative and ideas to the USA, will open new USA located businesses, and will hire Americans.

EB-5WALL investors will be able to support their families, will purchase medical insurances, and will never ask for any government welfare, medical assistance, etc.

Question: What other obstacles, if any, will the government and immigration-related business face to make this idea become a reality?

Gregory Finkelson: There could be bureaucratic obstacles and resistance from liberals who believe that open borders eventually translate to more votes for their candidates. I believe President Trump’s team should be able to prevail here.

Question: There is always pushback on good ideas. How do you believe average Americans would perceive the immigration of potentially 30,000 legal investors and family members in light of previous criticisms of the EB-5 program?

Gregory Finkelson: 30,000 EB-5WALL investors, who are fully checked by the FBI and USCIS, who will develop the USA economy, who will never ask for any Government assistance, are a much better “deal” compared to illegals, to DACA recipients, to the Green Card Lottery winners, and to most other One Million immigrants accepted by America annually.

I believe that once the plan is proposed and explained, the average American will align themselves in favor of the idea and be willing to support it.

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I'm a long time fan of tech innovation, especially its capacity to cross over into the realms of art and social justice. The paradigms are constantly changing, and we need to change with them.

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