ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
Conroe, May 9 – Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal has an illegal immigration problem. For some odd reason, as County Judge and as an elected official, Doyal has encouraged programs that result in illegal immigration issues for this community. Doyal’s sponsorship of the EB-5 program in Montgomery County is one example.
How EB-5 came before the public
Tucked in Doyal’s secretive “consent agenda” for the March 28, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting was an agenda item for the Montgomery County government to approve the designation of areas within this community as EB-5 Targeted Employment Areas (also known as “TEAs”). Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack requested that Doyal pull the agenda item off the “consent agenda” so that the Commissioners Court could discuss the matter openly. Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin and Doyal’s “chief of staff” jim fredricks nervously came to the Courtroom podium and attempted to explain why this County should invite EB-5 investments. Somehow, this County, which is already one of the fastest growing suburban communities in the entire United States, should invite this questionable immigration scheme into the area where our citizens live.
Doyal quickly brought approval of the EB-5 program to a vote, even though Griffin and fredricks were largely unable to explain why affluent Montgomery County should invite such scheming here. By 4 votes in favor and Noack’s abstention, the Commissioners Court approved the EB-5 program in Montgomery County without any knowledge or explanation whatsoever about its purpose or its results in other parts of the United States.
The real EB-5 that Doyal has invited into Montgomery County
Conservative Republican United States Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is one of the most vocal critics of the EB-5 program. The Judiciary Committee, under Grassley’s leadership, has investigated this program, one of the favorites of democratic administrations, especially Presidents Bill Clinton and B. Hussein Obama, who aggressively supported expansion of the EB-5 program.
Under EB-5, if a foreign national invests $1 million or more into a TEA, he may obtain green cards, and eventually permanent resident status, for foreigners who might otherwise not obtain any legal immigration rights into the United States. Grassley has concluded, “It’s hard for smaller states and cities to complete with the glitzy hotels and luxurious condo projects [that EB-5 brings into cities like]…Beverly Hills, Miami, and New York City.” Meanwhile democratic leader Chuck Schumer, a U.S. Senator, from New York has been an ardent advocate for the EB-5 program.
Unfortunately, EB-5 doesn’t just bring glamour and glitz. In 2013, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued an investor alert about fraudulent investment schemes involving the EB-5 visa program. Forbes magazine reported on a “massive eight-year fraudulent scheme” in which a ski resort in Vermont misappropriated more than $350 million of federal government and investor funds through the EB-5 program.
Basically, EB-5 has become a “cash for residency” program. The FBI’s office in Los Angeles is currently involved in dozens of matters involving EB-5 visa fraud schemes, because the program has attracted organized criminal elements from China and other parts of East Asia. Some companies claiming to have ties to the United States have advertised in mainland China that Chinese investors could buy visas by investing funds in EB-5 companies in TEAs in the United States. Kushner Companies, the firm of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s family, is currently mired in an investigation of its practices involving the use of EB-5 funds to finance some of its New Jersey and Manhattan development projects.
There are also connections with EB-5 investments to some of the East Coast crime families who have attempted to take advantage of the projects.
Montgomery County already enjoys a real estate development boom largely thanks to the early efforts of George Mitchell, founder of The Woodlands, and Bruce Belin, the development of April Sound, Bentwater, and numerous other large-scale developments. The community’s quality citizens, cultural offerings, public schools, and general quality of life are very attractive to real estate development.
There is no reason that the County Commissioners Court – or even County Judge Craig Doyal and jim fredricks – should scrape the bottom of the investment barrel and attract the criminal elements from which the East and West Coasts suffer through this corrupt federal immigration program.