Michael Miley OP-ED

Correction: last week’s editorial was from 2.5 years ago, not one year.

This is another op-ed from 9/14 (2 years ago) re-hashing a similar point.

By: Michael Miley

“The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program provides conditional visas to foreign nationals who invest $500,000 or $1 million into a government-approved business, a class which includes Jay Peak and Burke Mountain. The EB-5 program is reprehensible for several reasons, which span the political spectrum. Firstly, EB-5 projects, like Burke, are mostly sub-par investments that but for EB-5, would not attract capital in the free market. The repeated assurances from Mr. Stenger and Mr. Quiros that “EB-5 works at Burke” is essentially a tacit admission that the businesses they own are failures that would be unable to stand on their own financially. People who have invested in EB-5 projects might find their investments go up in smoke if the unstable business they thought they were investing in (more on that later) goes belly up.

Secondly, EB-5 discriminates against the poor by allowing the super-rich to buy their way to the “front” of the immigration line. An average person has to wait — on average — seven years to be approved for a green card, but the wealthy elites who can pay half a million dollars can be approved in less than two.

Lastly, the manner in which the corporate leaders of the EB-5 projects at Jay Peak and Burke, that is, Mr. Stenger and Mr. Qurios, have conducted themselves has been shady to say the least. As I stated in a previous column, Stenger and Quiros took the EB-5 investors ownership equity and– secretly– converted it into unsecured debt. Five months later, Stenger and Qurios decided that the investors were worthy of hearing this news. Stenger called this “an oversight,” but such an action is far too significant for Stenger and Qurios to have simply forgotten. Add in the fact that Patrick Leahy has attempted to remove the strict job creation requirements that are (at least for now) a nominal part of the EB-5 program, and a pretty unpleasant picture emerges.

EB-5 is a profoundly damaging program that has allowed a wealthy few to run roughshod over the Northeast Kingdom at the expense of all the people who live here.

People of all political stripes can find something distasteful about EB-5, and we must all come together to rid ourselves of these parasites, and take back this place we call home.“