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The immigration reform bill recently passed by the United States Senate permanently authorizes and in other ways strengthens the EB-5 program, a method for foreign investment to come into the U.S. EB-5 was originally passed in 1990 and has been extended in subsequent votes. It permits a foreign family to get permanent U.S. residency (green card) by investing $500,000 in the U.S. economy. Recently, EB-5 financing has heavily gone into American hotels, which have not been the favorites of domestic financial institutions. China is a major source of EB-5 capital.

The Texas Urban Triangle Regional Center recently took a trip to China to drum up more EB-5 investment money. Among the most prominent EB-5 investments in this triangle is the 1000-room, $350 million Fairmont Austin Hotel, being built by Manchester Texas Financial Group, a wing of the hotel financing empire of San Diego's Papa Doug Manchester. This month, his son Douglas Manchester, who heads the Austin project, touted it to potential investors in China.

Of course, the immigration reform bill still must go through the House, where it faces considerable Republican opposition.

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Comments

monaghan June 28, 2013 @ 1:10 p.m.

Today's Congress easily could find otherwise elusive common ground on 21st century immigration reform simply by adjusting the rules to satisfy Big Business' wish for foreign investment (as in this hotel example) and its demand for well-trained high-tech foreign labor (as at our own Qualcomm.) At least that would be honest.

Then Congress could call it a day, we could stop fussing over what the Tea Party House of Representatives might dream up, and the ridiculous provisions of the Senate's recently-approved bill would be history. Add 20,000 Border Patrol agents? Extend the border fence another 700 miles? Drag out the time for legalization of an undocumented resident to ten-plus years? Require several thousands of dollars in fees for a busboy? These punitive ideas deserve to be deep-sixed.

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Don Bauder June 28, 2013 @ 2:06 p.m.

monaghan: You are right. The vast amount of money to be shelled out on the border fence and on more agents is ridiculous, but it was a move that supporters of reform felt they had to take to get opponents on board. This will be expensive -- in the billions of dollars. Best, Don Bauder

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Michael Mullenniex June 28, 2013 @ 3:14 p.m.

OK, guys, if the border-strengthening parts of the senate bill are ridiculous, how would you tighten up our porous border?

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Don Bauder June 28, 2013 @ 3:49 p.m.

Michael Mullenniex: If you truly believe in capitalism -- and I do -- then you don't necessarily want a tighter border. Free trade and free borders go together, classically. No immigration reform bill can please everyone. I would like immigration reform, for example, but I don't like the move for more visas for the H-1B program, because I believe corporations' argument for the loosening is based on an untruth: that there is a shortage of American engineers. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 28, 2013 @ 8:44 p.m.

ISSA'S BILL THAT WOULD INCREASE H-1B VISAS PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE. A bill brought by North County Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would increase the number of H-1B visas passed the House Judiciary Committee 20-14 today (June 28) on a party line vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. The future of the bill, and the entire immigration reform package, is still questionable in the House. Best, Don Bauder

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Michael Mullenniex July 2, 2013 @ 12:22 p.m.

So, since you believe in capitalism and free trade, then you want to keep our border open as it is to allow for illegal drug trafficking, illegal immigration and possible infiltration of foreign enemies. All in the name of free trade and capitalism??

The H-1B program is another facet of the larger immigration issue. Besides, if the border is kept open as you suggest, we won't need a H-1B program since people can just waltz over the border without bothering with those pesky H-1B rules.

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monaghan June 28, 2013 @ 10:29 p.m.

The Tea Party House may refuse to touch most of the Senate's immigration "reform," though apparently they have managed via GOP Rep. Darrell Issa to carry water on H-1B visas that the deep-pockets Qualcomm Jacobses cared about. Maybe there will be something for Chinese hotel investors too. Rich Chinese with $500,000 to invest and low-wage well-educated Indian engineers are immigrants too -- just ask hotelier Doug Manchester and Qualcomm spokesman Nathan Fletcher.

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Don Bauder June 29, 2013 @ 9:02 a.m.

monaghan: I read it the same way you do. The Tea Party House does not want immigration reform, but it does want the parts of the package that line corporate pockets, such as H-1B and EB-5. It will be interesting if a bill embracing H-1B and EB-5 pass the House, without the other reforms that would benefit poorer immigrants. Corporations want H-1B because it provides them with cheap mid-skill labor, and also lowers the general pay level of American engineers. Corporations want EB-5 because it provides capital for projects that face resistance being financed through normal domestic channels. Best, Don Bauder

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FatCatSegat June 29, 2013 @ 12:49 p.m.

Maybe my problem is that everything is either black or white to me. The senate came to an amazing agreement and a historical one at that. That guy who can't even pronounce his name correctly has already dismissed the bill, drawn party lines and has begun a campaign of half truths and mostly misdirected hostility towards our president. Now I'm about to piss off alot of people but lets get down to brass tacks. Its all subconsciously driven racism. I know it, I hear it everyday on the street. But the ignorance that is racism does not allow the racist to see it for what it is. The face of illegal aliens is not the student from the UK who has overstayed his visa and is working illegally. Its simply LATINOS. We're everywhere. We mow your lawns, we cook your food at your favorite restaurants and we also pick your vegetables and fruit under deplorable conditions. And yet some subscribe to the notion that we're stealing your jobs. Bullpucky! The path to citizenship for the undocumented is going to take 13 years for the person. Thats a long time! And yes, I do think it is fair. So we compromised and attempted to assuage the fear and offered a military type surge for the border. But guess what, congress is going to be what it has been. Working for everyone else but their constituencies. The masses have got to see this for what it is and act appropriately come the next election. We've been divided by our own ignorance and our special interest driven congress. But go ahead congress, if this is what you call courting the latino vote, keep them blinders on. Just don't be surprised when the ride is over. Nos vemos muchachos.

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Don Bauder June 30, 2013 @ 7:49 a.m.

FatCatSegat: You make excellent points. The reason politicians want to spend billions of dollars on the border fence and more guards is rooted in racism. No question. Best, Don Bauder

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Michael Mullenniex July 2, 2013 @ 12:28 p.m.

Maybe some just want to stop the racing across the border. Maybe some just want to know who's coming into our country. Maybe some just want to staunch the flow of drugs into our country. And just maybe some want to be fair to the thousands who want to come into our country legally!

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