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America for Sale

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!

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8 responses

  1. This is one that bothers me. There are many, many other relationships that have always bothered me. I won’t bother to seek them out now, because, to be honest, I am lazy. But the gist of it is that this congressperson is married to the guy who is trying to buy a bunch of post offices, or these media personalities are married to those government officials, or this persons daughter is running that foundation when he voted to give it money, etc. The whole thing going on in D.C. with the nepotism and such and the lack of anyone seeming to care, and yet everyone screaming if Obama took a second jet to Hawaii after Michelle and the girls? Please, give me a break, you bunch of hypocrites. I didn’t especially like Obama, the same for Trump, but open your eyes. Judge them on their policies, not on what we spend to protect them or how much they spend on china for the white house. And judge Trump if he allows pay for play to happen under his watch, just the way we would have done if Hillary would have been elected. The only way that we will get government that is accountable to the people is if we demand it. Start demanding it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was not aware that this was as bad as it is. Thanks for the heads up on it.
    It is a problem. Are the Chinese reciprocating by offering the same thing to US citizens – citizenship by cash? Can we get Russia in on this? I do not mean to sound facetious, but if citizenship/entry is for sale, why bother with all the legalities? What Ms. Kushner is doing is a gross impropriety. What will the consequences be down the road?
    We’re all on a slippery slope right now, and it will be slippery for some time to come. From the watered down stuff I can pick up from The Guardian, Forbes, WSJ, Reuters, AFP and other sources, it’s almost as though we’re sliding back into the Cold War era. But this time the Big Three will be allies, however we may hold each other at arm’s length in many ways.
    I may be overreacting to what I see, but I’ve seen it before. The restlessness, instability and constant warfare in strange countries is more and more worrisome.

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    1. Wait – who the hell would want Chinese citizenship? LOL

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      1. Please, I beg you! Post a spew alert!!

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        1. Who me? That was a totally serious question! LOL

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  3. That visa program has been a thorn in SoCal for at least a decade. Most have been Chinese although many from the Middle East have taken advantage of the program. Then there is the fraud and duplicity (on the part of US proponents, local and fed politicians, and on the part of the recipients). There has been little enforcement. Some examples of abuse of the program are foreign nationals forming an investment pool which then names an individual on the visa program. Those investors then enter the US to become the ‘workers’.

    Over the past six years I have been in SoCal (God help my soul) I have seen ever more what looks like the tour bus has just dropped off a new load of Asian tourists. The demographics are changing considerably.

    Another is the applicant promises full payment but negotiates with willing politicians to make a ‘down payment (perhaps $50K) and reneges after their ‘family’ is in the US. In several cases it is a child’s friend who becomes part of qualifying family. That opens the door for future to bring that friend’s family. The HB-1 and EB-5 visa programs act as de facto halfway houses. New business start-ups show no significant increase. Domestic unemployment has remain unchanged or risen in those certain areas favored by applicants to the EB-5 program.

    The Chinese find opportunity in the dramatic cultural difference from Western culture, the applicant uses duplicity to sow confusion by claiming many surnames thereby opening the door to bring in their immediate ‘family’. And the US gov drones play the patsy for fear of insulting the applicant. Those from the ME play their own version of that game. It’s too wicked to put in words.

    I had been writing my state and federal representatives about the fraud and sometimes harrowing abuses and that these visa programs be audited or shut down. But it has been like beating my head against the wall.

    A somewhat related note is up to 64% of all real estate transactions in 2016 featured Chinese nationals as buyers. The percentage was in the mid-fifties in 2015 and I expect it to move higher in 2017, especially as RE prices soar.

    Liked by 1 person

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