The Real Deal New York

US Senator Ted Cruz to speak at EB-5 industry conference co-sponsored by Related Companies

Move comes amid controversy over Kushner Companies' use of visa program
By Konrad Putzier | June 07, 2017 03:10PM

Ted Cruz (Credit: Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will speak at an EB-5 investment industry gathering co-sponsored by Related Companies in late July, according to the event’s website.

The news comes as Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law of President Trump, is under fire for his family company’s use of the controversial visa program.

The conference, dubbed 2017 San Francisco EB-5 & Investment Immigration Convention, bills itself as a meeting of EB-5 agents, immigration attorneys and developers. Its sponsors include Related — which has used EB-5 funds for its Hudson Yards development and runs its own regional center — as well as real estate investment firm Lennar International. Since January 2015, Related has spent at least $1.4 million on immigration-related lobbying, more than double any other user of the program, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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The EB-5 program, which gives green cards to foreigners who invest in job-creating real estate projects in low-employment areas of the U.S., has been widely criticized for funneling money to luxury developments through gerrymandering.

Last month, Kushner’s sister Nicole Kushner Meyer visited China to raise $150 million in EB-5 funds for Kushner Companies’ Jersey City project One Journal Square, raising questions over whether the firms is abusing its White House connections.

Related’s top executives Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau are prominent Republican donors. Most recently, Ross gave $100,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in January, according to OpenSecrets data.