While the United States pounds on countries in the Caribbean for their Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) programs, the Kushner family – yes, THAT Kushner family – seems to have no problem selling American visas to the Chinese. That’s the message Jared Kushner’s sister delivered to a ballroom filled with wealthy Chinese investors.
Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.
The CBI programs in the Caribbean are particularly problematic, rife with corruption and fraud, and permissive as long as you have the cash. Countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN), Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, and Dominica afford rich foreigners an opportunity to invest in their economies, whether through real estate or an investment in a business, government, or “development fund.” Once an investor plops down several hundred thousand dollars, they can be issued a passport, enjoy visa-free travel to nations in the Schengen Zone or the United States, and other perks – sometimes with very little scrutiny.
Care to guess how much fraud is involved, especially since many of these island nations compete among one another for potential investors, and millions of dollars? Care to guess how much due diligence really goes on when millions of dollars in investments are at stake?
SKN, for example, came under scrutiny a couple of years ago after some Iranian sanctions evaders got visas, allowing them to travel to Canada. Care to guess how easy it is to cross the border from Canada to the United States?
The United States expressed concern about the Caribbean CBI programs as recently as last year, urging these nations to exercise due diligence to ensure that sanctions evaders, transnational organized crime members, and terrorists don’t use their programs to obtain passports and visas.
Hell, one of the relatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is Antigua’s representative in Syria, and the nation’s nutjob Prime Minister Browne admitted to CBS this year that “Syria is one of the areas in which we have had some concerns but did not place it on a restricted list.”
So while the United States expresses concerns about sketchy characters buying Caribbean passports for visa-free travel, the family of the President’s Senior Advisor is selling them to China. The tagline on a brochure for the investor event in Beijing, according to the Post was, “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”
And worse yet, Kushner’s sister was actually touting the White House connection at the conference!
The tone deafness of this woman is unreal!
I’m fairly sure she didn’t come right out and say that if these wealthy Chinese invest half a million bucks into Kushner properties, they’d have an in – a Kushner family member in the White House. I’m sure that’s not what she meant. I hope.
But when you trumpet the fact that the CEO of your company is currently a senior advisor in the White House, what else is one supposed to think?
Damn straight, there are ethical implications when the sister of the company’s CEO, whether intentionally or not, uses her connections to the White House to attract business!
And damn straight, it’s problematic when the EB-5 visa program that allows wealthy investors to essentially buy their way into the United States was set to expire last month, was extended with the President’s signature until the end of the fiscal year, and is promoted by the President’s in-laws, urging Chinese investors to quickly buy into it before its expiration!
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is currently considering changes to the program. The former SOUTHCOM Commander, I am sure, is very aware of the types of problems CBI programs faced in the Caribbean, given the fact that the region falls squarely in SOUTHCOM’s area of responsibility. I’m sure Secretary Kelly is aware of the corruption that makes the CBI programs very lucrative for the governments of those countries and keep due diligence down to a minimum, if not absent at all.
So how is it that the Kushner family didn’t see their actions as a problem?
How is it that they didn’t view promoting their personal business by touting an obviously and publicly problematic program, and bragging about their White House connections to Chinese investors, while barring the press from attending the event, as troublesome in any way?
How is it that while the United States issues public warnings about CBI programs elsewhere, the Kushners are hypocritically using their White House connections to sell America to the Chinese?
How is it that they didn’t see a problem with selling American immigration to rich investors from a country that engaged in egregious hacking activities against the United States?
We are living in Animal Farm, people, and the media is focused on how much ice cream 45 eats. Good lord!